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      CommentAuthormuse hick
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
    No Depression Ceases Publication

    this was a great magazine for alt-country music fans
  1.  (1094.2)
    Funny, "alt-country" usually brings depression on in me.
      CommentAuthormuse hick
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
    there's some good stuff that comes under that label though -- the handsome family, silver jews, wilco, ryan adams, whiskeytown to name a few
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
    ...Alt-Country? There's such a thing? :|

    Can someone explain this to me?
      CommentAuthormuse hick
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
    it was a term that was used to cover a lot of bands like uncle tupelo, wilco, golden smog, silver jews that were being influenced by the older country people like gram parsons, flying burrito brothers, johnny cash, etc but bringing a more modern influence to bear on it. it was kind of spearheaded as a movement or term by no depression in the US and by Uncut Magazine in the UK. They also refer to it as New Country sometimes.
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
    I'll defend this genre too, albeit tentatively.

    I've really enjoyed Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins, Alison Krauss and Loretta Lynn. And of course I have Johnny Cash records, but can't say I 'get' Wilco or have necessarily heard of the others. It's a genre I've approached with a lot of hesitation.

    - Z
      CommentAuthormuse hick
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
    i fucking hated country for the longest time and wouldn't approach it with a barge pole but this music had more in common with things like sebadoh, dinosaur jr, sonic youth -- that kind of sensibility. it's the same as most movements -- the bands themselves don't really live by or under the label it was just that a lot of them appeared in things like uncut or no depression and kind of lumped together and they all do pretty different things with their influences as you would expect them to.
  2.  (1094.8)
    i grew up hearing Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and old bluegrass tunes around the house. The country on the radio never really caught my ear and i had all but given up on anyone giving a respectful yet creative twist to the genre until i discovered some of the aforementioned groups. Stand out albums to my ear, at least from the 90's, that would've fallen under the wide umbrella of "alternative country" that were powerful and strong both musically and lyrically in various ways were:

    Richard Buckner - Devotion and Doubt (with Calexico and Marc Ribot on guitar)
    Uncle Tupelo - March 16-20, 1992 and Anodyne
    All of the first three Son Volt albums, especially Trace and Wide Swing Tremelo
    Whiskeytown - Stranger's Almanac
    Gillian Welch - Revival
    Chris Mills - Every Night Fight For Your Life
    Geraldine Fibbers - Lost Somewhere Between The Earth and My Home
    Joe Henry - Short Man's Room
    Jayhawks - Hollywood Town Hall
    Old 97's - Too Far To Care
    Slobberbone - Everything You Thought Was Right Today Was Wrong
    • CommentAuthorabkosher
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2008
    I like my country a little more messed with or a lot more pure (though I like a couple of the records Steven listed, particularly that Geraldine Fibbers record - the singer, Carla Bozulich released a great album a year or so ago called Evangelista on Constellation, home of Godspeed! You Black Emperor).
    One of my favorite alt country bands is a Chicago group called Souled American. Their stuff goes in and out of print. Rough Trade originally released the first four albums and experimental/metal label Tumult Laboratories (which says something) reissued them beautifully a ways back. That said, I'd start with the last two (albums #5 & 6), Frozen and Notes Campfire, originally European only, then barely released in the U.S. by labels I don't think exist any longer. Still, shouldn't be too tough to find.

    Palace Brothers - s/t aka Days in The Wake (Drag City)
    Shearwater - Palo Santo and the forthcoming Rooks (Matador)
    Townes Van Zandt - first album (recently reissued by Fat Possum)
    Neko Case - pretty much anything (Bloodshot or Anti)
    Tarnation - Gentle Creatures (4AD)
    Sue Garner - To Run More Smoothly (Thrill Jockey)
    Catherine Irwin - Cut Yourself A Switch (Thrill Jockey)
    Dieselhed - Tales of the Brown Dragon (Amarillo)
    The Mekons - Fear and Whiskey (Sin, later Quarterstick)
    Freakwater - Feels Like the Third Time (Thrill Jockey)
    Jolie Holland - Catalpa (Anti)

    folks I work(ed) with (in no order):
    Centro-matic - Love You Just the Same and the forthcoming Dual Hawks
    Southeast Engine - A Wheel Within A Wheel
    The Court and Spark - Witch Season
    Virginia Dare - Baby Got Away

    I also love pretty much anything by Dolly Parton or the Carter Family, or Hazel Dickens but there's nothing alt about any of them. Johnny Cash, maybe he was alt, but he redefined the whole damn genre. Charlie Rich lit the envelope on fire when he announced that John Denver had won the country album of the year. That's pretty fucking cool.
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2008
    @ Z-

    If you can find it, The Watson Twin's solo album Southern Manners is really great as well. Although I must say nothing is ever as good as when Jenny Lewis is present.

    Another great alt country album is Matt Sweeney & Bonny "Prince" Billy's Super Wolf (that is, if you are a fan of The Palace Brothers)
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2008
    I find Warren's glibness distressing. Can we define alt country as anything that's not Nashville country? It's a big umbrella full of great music-- the first two Drive-By Truckers albums, most of Willie Nelson's oeuvre, Gram Parsons. That's good music.

    No Depression was a great magazine, but they've pretty much been supplanted by PASTE.

    But I know-- how we will get 2 inches a month on what toothpaste Jay Farrar is using!
      CommentAuthormuse hick
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2008
    wiki definition

    this isn't the best but it gets somewhere near, it does use the 'not nashville' thing but goes a bit further
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2008
    Recommendations noted and added to my list. Next time I'm on Amazon or at the record shop, I'll be on the look out.

    I wouldn't call the comment glib. Dismissive maybe, but with a relatively clear intent. I would also point out that a number of us have already expressed a distaste for the umbrella genre of Country Music, while adamantly defending a handful of artists (or in the case of the thread topic, a magasine). I said previously I would only tentatively defend the sub-genre of alternative country. It's not the only genre that gives me pause, either. I listen to R&B, but can't defend the umbrella genre or even the sub-genres. There'll always be a place in my mp3 mix for Sleepy Brown, Leela James and Jaguar Wright, but that doesn't mean I'm going to frequent those particular racks in the record store (any more than I'd visit the Country section).

    In all honesty, taking a giant step backward to look at the topic with a clear view, I can't say I listen to any specific genre in particular. For me, it'll always be about the individual artists and whether or not they have anything relevant to say. I think some genres facilitate that better than others, and those are the genres or sub-genres I'll defend more readily.

    - Z
  3.  (1094.14)
    Two bits here that make very good observations regarding the larger significance of the end of No Depression's print publication.

    Grieving Angel, or What happened to alt-country?

    And when the news about No Depression, was posted on the Bottle Rockets message board (they being one of the few still surviving bands from back in the day of Uncle Tupelo and the Jayhawks, etc), the band's frontman, Brian Henneman made the following observation:

    Re: No Depression To Cease Publication
    by Buck Stopshere on Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:22 pm

    No, it's good.
    This means the last "roots rock scare" is finally over.
    It's underground again, just like it's been time and time again.
    It'll start up again, when a new generation of writers discovers it, and we'll get to be excited all over again for awhile.
    They ALWAYS "discover" it, 'cause this kinda music never goes away, it only goes away in the eye of the general public.
    I don't know exactly when it began, maybe with the Flying Burrito Brothers.
    Before that, they'd have just called it "rock and roll".
    The Flying Burrito Brothers were HIGHLY unpopular in their day, but, they managed to eek their way onto some public "radar", which led the studious types to find more likeminded music, which, also wasn't very popular, yet, was enough to encourage a "scene" to develop, usually not a very big scene, but a "scene" nonetheless.
    Somebody always rises to the top though, I guess maybe back then, it was The Eagles.
    That becomes publicly accepted as "mainstream", which then gets lumped in with other things "mainstream", and the root of where it came from gets totally branded to the "winner", thereby abandoning the also-rans, at least from a media perspective.
    The winner is now "mainstream" though, so, even though they ARE from what they began, the "roots" are pushed back underground, and the "alt-country-rock-whatever scene" is over for awhile, in the eye of the general public.
    Usually takes about a decade to run its course.
    Stayed low after that, 'til the next generation of writers came along, and "discovered" this great new kinda "Pure American Music", by groups like The Long Ryders, True Believers, Lone Justice, Jason & The Scorchers, etc...
    I reckon The Georgia Satellites may have won that round, I'm not sure, but, the cycle ran its course again, 'til the next generation discovered these bands called Uncle Tupelo, Jayhawks, Bottle Rockets, etc...
    Looks like Wilco might have won this round, and now, it's back underground again.
    The atrophy of music, as a driving force in pop culture, is diminishing each generation of this phenomenon, yet, it still seems to survive, this thing we call "roots rock".
    Maybe we're the only genre that proves the theory "Hey Hey, My My, Rock And Roll Can Never Die".
    Sure seems more vital, and meaningful, to see Alejandro Escovedo play today, than it does to see Skid Row, or Ratt.
    It's a form of music that has survived many generations fully intact.
    It never even got as diminished as the "Strat And A Hat" guys diminished the blues.
    You can't kill it.
    At the end of time, all that will remain is Keith Richards, a Fender Telecaster, a bunch of cockroaches, and roots rock music.
    With nobody left to categorize it for, I bet Keef'll just call it rock and roll...

    As much as i like Einsturzende Neubauten, Sonic Youth, or John Cage, i also like the old blues of the south and the bluegrass of Appalachia. And when everything breaks down and falls apart (as it's bound to do either with a bang or a whimper), someone somewhere will still pick up something and make a simple song of sorrow to release their woe.
    • CommentTimeMar 12th 2008

    Picked up the album 'Southern Manners' as you suggested; great recommendation.

    Particularly enjoyed the track 'Shoot the Lights Out'; that one ended up in a few different mixes of mp3's I listen to on a daily basis.


    - Z