As the year comes to a close, we bring you this special episode of Salvation South, where we take a look back on our most popular commentaries aired by GPB Radio in 2023. (Part 2 of 2)

Salvation South


Chuck Reece: I’m Chuck Reece, editor of and host of the Salvation South podcast from Georgia Public Broadcasting. This is the 2nd part of a special two-part episode where we look back on our most popular commentaries aired by GPB radio in 2023.

In these commentaries, I often talk about how cultures from around the world have integrated into the culture of the American South. In this commentary from June, I looked at a truly unique and harmonious marriage of bluegrass picking with the music of China, direct from Nashville of course.

Commentary: Chinese Bluegrass (from June 2023)

photo of Wu Fei

Nashville-based musician Wu Fei with her instrument the guzheng, a 21-string zither-like instrument dating back more than 2,000 years to China’s Qin dynasty.

Credit: Courtesy Wu Fei/Salvation South

Chuck Reece: That was “Chinese Bluegrass” from June 2023.

Let me ask you something. How well do you remember what you were like when you were only eight years old? Most of us would never dream of doing the things we did when we were kids. But have you ever wondered whether thinking like an eight-year-old could be a great thing? Here’s our commentary from back in March.

Commentary: Childhood (from March 2023)

Salvation South condensed-treetops-cover-1

Chuck Reece: That was “Recapturing our Carefree childhood” from March 2023.

We’re looking back on some of our favorite Salvation South commentaries aired by Georgia Public Broadcasting this year. When I was 19, I encountered what many people say is the greatest Southern novel ever written — William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! The book is a grueling test for even the most dedicated reader, but in this commentary from July, I’ll explain why its still worth your time.

Commentary: William Faulkner (from July 2023)

Cover of William Faulkner's book Absalom, Absalom!


Chuck Reece: That was my take on why Absalom, Absalom! Is a challenging must-read for Southerners.

Back in Spring, as we were celebrating Mother’s Day, many of us are thinking about the ones who brought us into this world. In this commentary from May, I talked about how I had been thinking about my own mother, who left me too early but remains with me still.

Commentary: Mother’s Day (from May 2023)

photo of Flora Reece

A photo of Chuck Reece's mom, Flora Reece, that Chuck's dad carried in his wallet while he was off fighting in World War II.

Credit: Courtesy Chuck Reece

Chuck Reece: That was Mother’s day and memories of my Mama, Flora Reece. From May 2023.

We’ve come to the final commentary on our year end Salvation South commentary retrospective. And even though it’s from all the way back in January, it’s one of the most important ones we did all year. We aired it right before we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the national holiday that honors the late Atlanta civil rights leader, theologian and American icon. During his career, King spoke and wrote often about what he called “the beloved community.” In this commentary, I considered what King meant when he talked about that.

Commentary: Beloved Community  (from January 2023)

Chuck Reece: That concludes our year end Salvation South commentary retrospective.

We’ve got a lot of great things planned for next year, including monthly installments of Salvation South Deluxe, a series of longer episodes that tell deeper stories of the Southern experience through the unique voices that live it. Be sure to listen and subscribe to Salvation South at or wherever you get your podcasts, and as always come visit us at

I’m Chuck Reece. I appreciate you listening.


Salvation South editor Chuck Reece comments on Southern culture and values in a weekly segment that airs Fridays at 7:45 a.m. during Morning Edition and 4:44 p.m. during All Things Considered on GPB Radio. Salvation South Deluxe is a series of longer Salvation South episodes which tell deeper stories of the Southern experience through the unique voices that live it. You can also find them here at and wherever you get your podcasts.