The “South” is the setting for the songs, and where the respective artists hail from, but “Family” is what makes this record universal for all listeners. And unlike many other concept records that may only have one or two songs that can be separated from the material, every song on “Southern Family” can exist independently, and many will go on to mark top-level career contributions to the artist’s musical canon.
“White Mansions” couldn’t be made today. That’s one of many reasons it’s so remarkable and such a country music treasure. It’s not that the production costs would be too high or the talent couldn’t be assembled. But you couldn’t put present day top-tier music talent on an album that someone might construe as harboring sympathies for the Civil War South without creating an uproar.