“Southern State of Mind”

by Meleana Cabales

Southern spaces have been represented in popular culture with varying degrees of accuracy and focus on aspects of Southern life. In some movies, the South is portrayed negatively for its history of bigotry and racism. Some television shows often highlight the South for its unique charm, unmatched hospitality, and unbeatable food. Other shows chalk up the Southern lifestyle to cowboy boots and horses. The extent to which these perceptions are authentically represented are affected by factors such as who created the cultural artifact and who is intended to receive it. While an older white person from Georgia might feel affectionately towards Gone With the Wind, a younger black person from Virginia might criticize the romanticism in the movie. Both are Southerners, but from different generations and walks of life.

Despite the vast range of Southern portrayals and interpretations, some facets are uniform within and distinct to the region. Darius Rucker’s “Southern State of Mind” perfectly captures what it means to be a Southerner away from home. Darius Rucker is a singer-songwriter from Charleston, SC who gained fame from his time as the lead singer of the 80’s rock band Hootie and the Blowfish. He emerged with solo activities at the turn of the century, but didn’t have any success until he signed as a country singer with Capitol Nashville. From there, his career took off as he produced several hits that put him on Billboard Charts. Today, he is a versatile singer with songs in country, rock, pop, R&B, and blues genres.

“Southern State of Mind” is sung from the perspective of a Southerner who has traveled around the country and interacted with people from different states. The lyrics indicate different Southern traits or trends that have earned him strange reactions from others. Ironically, even if he apologizes for being in a Southern state of mind, he has a huge sense of pride in who he is and where he comes from. It doesn’t matter that they don’t have sweet tea in New York or that the girls in California don’t like it when he holds the door. It doesn’t matter that he receives weird looks for wearing cowboy boots or for waving at cars as they pass. It doesn’t matter if he finds himself in Ohio or in Caroline, because he will always be in a Southern state of mind.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *