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 #5 Sept-Oct 1996

Kevin GordonKevin Johnson

The Sutler (Nashville, TN), July 17, 1996

“You really need to hear this Kevin Gordon tape. I’ll tell him to get in touch with you.” That’s how it started. Scott Esbeck of Los Straitjackets and I were talking about really good music. A couple of days later I got the Kevin Gordon tape in the mail and I was sold.

“I’ve got something you need to hear,” my friend Karen told me before playing me a couple songs from Kevin Johnson’s CD. I couldn’t wait to hear him live, either; then she said. “He’s playing with Kevin Gordon July 17th at the Sutler.”

Johnson and an abbreviated version of his band, the Linemen (Dave Giegerich on dobro and James Key on mandolin) shone on originals such as the Marshall Crenshaw-like “She Turns Me On”, “Blue Train” and the closer “Buddy Love” (written about Jerry Lewis in the original Nutty Professor movie). The stripped-down Linemen lineup also led to very interesting interpretations of some well chosen covers; an instrumental version of the Beatles “Here, There and Everywhere” and Jimmy Webb’s classic “Wichita Lineman” were the standouts. Johnson has a soulful delivery and is a literate writer whose songs remind me a lot of Crenshaw’s better tunes.

Gordon, meanwhile, is emerging as one of Nashville’s finest roots-rock songwriters. He hit the stage with the blue-collar rocker “Company Car” and followed with “Fast Train” a song he wrote that appaers on rockabilly great Sonny Burgess’ new album. Gordon and his band moved through a solid catalogue that included the Springsteen-style rocker “Evan Pick Up the Line”, th Midwestern heartbreaker “Pauline”, and the dueling guitar rocker “Cadillac Jack’s Number One Son”. After moving on to the more rootsy “Junior’s Guitar” and “Over the Levee”, and the Gwil Owen co-write “Deuce and a Quarter”, Gordon encored a heartfelt take on Bob Dylan’s “Jokerman” and the lighthearted “Chicken Truck”.

Gordon’s voice is as rich as the Mississippi riverbank soil he writes so passionately about, and he works as hard as any of the blue collar heroes in his songs. Esbeck was right: You’ve really got to hear this guy.

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 #5 Sept-Oct 1996

Cover of Issue #5 Sept-Oct 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

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