Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

Miked - Live Reviews from Issue #3 Spring 1996

Freight WhalerOld 97'sTwo Dollar Pistols

The Brewery (Raleigh, N.C.), February 7, 1996

Nowadays, it seems almost every musician in the incestuous Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle music scene moonlights in at least one country band. Two of the Triangle’s better side-project bands opened this show for Dallas’ Old 97′s, who were as charming as ever (imagine an alternate version of the movie “Revenge of the Nerds”, in which the long-oppressed geeks form a gutsy roots-rock band instead of a cheeseball synth-pop band).

Whiskeytown frontman Ryan Adams apparently writes more songs than he knows what to do with, so he started Freight Whaler last fall with his Whiskeytown sidekick Skillet Gilmore on drums. Several lineup changes have resulted in a drastically harder-rocking sound than Freight Whaler had a few months ago, when their initial shows were right up there with the Cowboy Junkies in terms of subtlety.

Freight Whaler picks up where Whiskeytown leaves off with “Midway Park”, the leadoff track to Whiskeytown’s spectacular “Faithless Street” album. They’re more rock and less twangy than Whiskeytown, playing mostly straight-ahead mid-tempo rock along the lines of Freedy Johnston. Like many sidebands, they occasionally seemed under-rehearsed, which will happen when members reside in different states — second guitarist Sloane Doggett is from Georgia, where he plays in Ithica Gin — but they’re also more than capable of going the distance.

The best part of the show was actually Adams’ semi-unplugged introduction, in which he perched on a stool and played acoustic guitar with minimal pedal steel accompaniment from Nicholas Petti (a sometime member of Pine State). Adams showed his usual willingness to hold nothing back with lines like, “I remember when I puked on the gymnasium floor/But I don’t remember your number no more.” Unpardonable as that sounds on paper, it was rivetting when heard in Adams’ earnest rasp. Another of the acoustic songs Adams played was so new that he had to pull the lyrics out of his wallet to remember them.

Also on the bill was John Howie’s band Two Dollar Pistol. A drummer by trade, Howie’s primary outlet is the atmospheric art-pop band June, whose debut album is due out this spring on Beggars Banquet. Two Dollar Pistol gets Howie out from behind the drums and lets him live out his Merle Haggard fantasies, accompanied by Jolene’s Bill Ladd on pedal steel, drummer Chris Phillips (from lounge-jazz revivalists Squirrel Nut Zippers) and June guitarist John Price. If he wasn’t one of the best drummers in the state, Howie would have a future as a country singer — and just might even so.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Discuss

Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #3 Spring 1996

Cover of Issue #3 Spring 1996

Sorry, this issue is SOLD OUT

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »


From the Blogs

  • The Post-Newport Earthquake: Watkins Family Hour
    Did you feel it? That's what everybody in Los Angeles asks each other whenever a shake or quake rattles and rolls through the valleys and flatlands. Sometimes there's just a release of pressure beneath the crust, and other times it's an up and down jolt that lasts only a second. And then you forget about it. Until the next time.  Sunday night […]
  • Chris Isaak's Life Beyond the Sun
    In 2011, Chris Isaak took the long overdue step of recording an album at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tenn. It wasn't just any album, it was faith interpretations of classic songs by his musical mentors and heroes: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. It didn’t take much of a leap of imagination to predict that the album would be so […]
  • Ray LaMontagne at the Woods at Fontanel (Nashville, Tenn. – July 25, 2014)
    Ray LaMontagne writes great songs and makes great records. And that's certainly no small feat. His live shows, though, while being technically and musically superlative, really don't leave the audience with a whole lot to hang on to other than the technique and the music. There's no personal engagement on LaMontagne's part. It's as i […]
  • Freight Train Boogie Show #264 features new music from Old Crow Medicine Show, Carolina Story, Yvette Landry and The Sweet Potatoes
    FTB Show #264 features the new album by Old Crow Medicine Show called Remedy.  Also new music from Carolina Story, Yvette Landry and The Sweet Potatoes. Here's the iTunes link to subscribe to the FTB podcasts.  Here's the direct link to … […]
  • Vancouver International Folk Festival Day Two (Jericho Beach, Vancouver, BC - July 19th, 2014)
    While Friday night at the Vancouver Folk Festival focuses on main stage performances, the rest of the weekend on the sprawling festival grounds of Jericho Beach is as notable for its smaller workshop performances. This was especially true this year. This particular Saturday started with the official public announcement of Joan Baez's cancellation. Perha […]
  • Chris O’Connell - Be Right Back (Album Review)
    The art of feeling a song’s essence  -- color, range, control, and style -- and giving it all to you is the domain of the great jazz singers, like Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln, Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan; and the great pop singers, like Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt. Chris O’Connell has a voice that carries you up with her when i […]

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!


Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter