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Music Thursdays: Are The Civil Wars The Most Popular Band In Alabama

Geek Alabama Music Thursdays

This week, a map was released showing which band is the most popular in each state.  Paul Lamere, Director of Developer Platform at The Echo Nest, created this map using data from Spotify and a range of data services to compare musical preferences by region, state, and across the United States.  He compared differences across regional and state preferences to figure out which artists were uniquely popular in different locations.  And the results are shown in this map below.


So in Alabama, the most popular band is The Civil Wars.  And many people who commented on this story from other websites have never heard of The Civil Wars.  Yes, one member of the band, John Paul White is from Florence and Joy Williams is from Santa Cruz, Ca.  The duo has been on the rise since 2010 when they went mainstream.  The band plays a mostly Americana and folk type of music.  Here is one of their most popular songs called “Poison & Wine.”

One question some people in Alabama are asking, is what about the other bands from the state will have gone on to fame?  Bands like the Alabama Shakes, Jimmy Buffett, Hank Williams Sr., Act of Congress, The Band Perry, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Tenth Avenue North, and of course, Alabama, have been very popular in the state.  So I ask this question, are The Civil Wars really the most popular band in Alabama?  Hey, it could it worse, Tennessee has Juicy J, which has no connection to country music.

Alabama has had such a great history when it comes to music.  Why was the band Alabama not chosen?

Or Jimmy Buffett with his popular song called “Margaritaville?”

Or how about the newest popular band, the Alabama Shakes with their song “Hold On”?

And Alabama is known for having some great Christian bands, Tenth Avenue North is one of the biggest.

And yes, why was not Lynyrd Skynyrd chosen with their popular theme song for Alabama called “Sweet Home Alabama.”

A lot of people are questioning the state’s most favorite artist saying the choices were not right.  Paul Lamere sampled the listening preferences of about a quarter million listeners that have a zip code associated with their account.  He aggregated these listeners into regions (state, regional and all-US). To compare regions he looked at the top-N most popular artists in each region and look for artists that have a substantial change in rank between the two regions.  These artists are the artists that define the taste for the region.  But it’s not my study, if you want to learn more about this study, go to:

Access the app to see your state’s results and compare at:


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