New to the Garden & Gun scene, I previously pooh-poohed the idea based solely on the title. I mean, really, Garden & Gun?! What kind of magazine is this? What could one thing possibly have to do with the other? Well, I’m here to tell you – there is more this magazine than a name. I’ve only read this magazine in earnest in the last two years. Based out of Charleston, South Carolina, G & G covers a plenitude of Southern soul-food, arts & culture, music, sporting life, home & garden, and travel. Don’t let the name fool you – this is Southern culture at its best. Covering topics such as the Made in the South awards, which is what hooked me, as well as places to visit, places to eat, literature and music, southern heritage, and the people representing that heritage, is brought to the pages of this magazine each month.
Case in point, this month they are featuring is the Alabama Shakes. I first heard the Shakes on the MusiCares tribute to Bruce Springsteen on AXS TV. Wow. That is all I can say. The Alabama Shakes is a funky, kinda retro, yet completely fresh rock band. Brittany Howard puts her heart [and soul] into her performances, as does the entire band. This girl can sing! What G & G does best is write great articles, and this one doesn’t disappoint. They have a knack for making you feel somehow connected to their subject, especially on interest pieces about people. They entice you with great visuals and catchy titles, and before you know it you are hooked.
The Made in the South awards highlight the best the South has to offer in different categories: food, drink, style & design, home, and outdoors. People or companies submit entries and the judges decide who best represents the South that year. This is where I learned about Williams Knife Co., maker of handcrafted, custom knives that are as much art as they are functional. What started with the Edisto Oyster Knife, has blossomed into a specialty knife company offering endless possibilities of functional art. I’ve purchased two Williams knives as gifts, and would recommend them to anyone. But without G & G highlighting them and telling a compelling story, I might have missed them altogether. And that would be a tragedy.
As a lifestyle magazine, Garden & Gun embodies everything good the South has to offer and more. Things you didn’t know about – now you do. Recipes to try at home, places to stay and visit. Restaurant highlights. Sporting life (the gun part of G & G that I just couldn’t fathom) is a good read as well, even if you’re not the sporty type, like me. (Although if tripping and falling is ever made an official sport, look out y’all, ‘cuz imma win the gold!) The point? Garden and Gun is interesting, intellectually and culturally stimulating, and worth reading. You will learn things about things you had no idea that you didn’t know in the first place and didn’t know you were missing. Who wouldn’t want expand their horizon? And the best part? Even if you are a homebody, you can take the path of discovery from the comfort of your own home, no pressure. If you are the get out and explore type, you now have some great ideas to add to your “must do” list and see where it takes you. Now go grab yourself a copy, a glass of tea, and get to readin’! There’s soul in them there pages!