The Sounds of Southall

When Reed Turchi sat down to play his first set at the Rambling on an October evening four years ago, he couldn’t have known what a central element of Southall his sound would become. 

Now, as the under-the-stars dinner series wraps its fall run, Turchi’s brand of Hill Country blues has become a signature — not only for the dinners, but for the guest experience that awaits.

Music for your Morning
Music for your Afternoon

“All these years of being immersed in the project, I can’t imagine being in this space and emphasizing the land and the history without music that is regionally based,” he says. “It’s what roots is all about, but more improvisational and less focused on trying to be a part of a certain tradition. It’s true to Southall and the ethos of humble exploration.”

Turchi says Bill Farris, the founder of the Southern Studies programs at Ole Miss and the University of North Carolina, pointed him in “all the right directions” when Turchi was a student at UNC. As a guitarist, he says he was drawn to the hypnotic, driving cadence of the rhythm and sounds, open-ended and free to explore. There’s no set list when he plays live, but there is a purpose.

“I can sit in one spot as long as it feels good. That’s what the dinners have been about, and people have felt that, but it’s the full experience of the property in general — you’re here, you’re immersed in it. It’s about sinking into a place.”

Back in 2019, Turchi brought Andrew Klamar, one of the Southall chefs who conceived and brought the Ramblings to life, into the studio to cut a record that might capture the spirit of the event. They cut the tracks for vinyl live, with the band playing together in one room.

“We wanted it to be like the Ramblings as much as possible, in terms of pure performance — no second takes, no overdubs, no editing, just loose and warm,” Turchi says. “That’s what the food and the service and all the elements of the vibe are about. I listen to those recordings today and I get that same feeling, energetic but relaxing in their own way too. It just feels right.”

Call it contentedness, serenity or equanimity, but that all is well with my soul feeling is at the core of everything Southall stands for, and sound connects us in profound ways to our environment. True to form, Turchi soon turned to designing and curating the sounds that complement every aspect of life at Southall. The result is long-form playlists that will punctuate the moment, whether in a public space or a private one, informed by the time of day, the season, the mood.

“It can be so intentional and impactful with the right focus, and we’ve had the luxury of years to refine and evolve the different energies, incorporate all of the experiences and the sounds of the natural environment,” he explains. “All of those branches have grown from one body, an aesthetic. There’s so much life here, so much to explore and absorb, from the agricultural to the culinary, the design and the adventures. People will realize that their soap came out of the ground here, and that level of thought and complexity extends to every little detail. That just deserves the right musical complement.”

Whether enjoying a late dinner or a session in the spa, gathered around a demonstration in the jammery, basking the pool or with morning coffee on the porch of a cottage, the score could range from sub-Saharan blues to East Nashville indie, and juke-joint slide guitars to Turchi’s soft classical strings playing in harmony with the song of birds and breezes recorded through the seasons here. A theme runs through it all.

“I hope that people will get a really strong feeling, even if it’s not conscious awareness, and be inspired to explore,” he says. “There are years of moments that have informed these playlists and I remember every one of them… all of that information goes into everything being made, and that’s a rare kind of inspiration. If we’ve done it right, then guests will take that feeling home with them, remember it often and keep coming back for more.”