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Southern Comforts: 25 Best Songs About the South

From “Sweet Home Alabama” to “Carolina in My Mind,” we count down the top tunes celebrating life below the Mason-Dixon

Ray Charles and George Strait

Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind" and George Strait's "All My Exes Live in Texas" are two of the best songs about the south.

Gary Null/NBC via Getty; Christopher Polk/Getty

From Nashville cats who play clean as country water to Bible Belt rappers who chronicle the wheelings and dealings of the Dirty South, musicians have a long history of setting the pace, pulse and people of Dixie to music. Here, we bring you the best of the old, sweet songs that've kept Georgia — and all of the southern states — on our minds during one of the coldest winters in decades.

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James Taylor, “Carolina in My Mind”

James Taylor hasn't lived in North Carolina for five decades. But most every election year, he comes back to play benefit shows for progressive candidates, invariably closing with "Carolina in My Mind." This marooned expatriate's homesick remembrance is not the University of North Carolina's official song but it might as well be, as often as it's sung at sporting events and graduation ceremonies. Taylor wrote and recorded the original while overseas making an ill-fated album for the Beatles' record label and wondering if he'd gotten in over his head with a drug addiction that soon landed him in the hospital. But the better-known version is the 1976 remake for Taylor's "Greatest Hits" collection, which slows the tempo, adds steel guitar and hits the perfect wistful sweet spot.

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