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

Waxed - Record Review from Issue #22 July-Aug 1999

Red Star Belgrade

The Fractured Hymnal (Checkered Past)

Red Star Belgrade’s Bill Curry may not live in the South anymore, but he carries a grudge as only a Southerner can. Before fleeing North Carolina for Chicago a few years back, he penned a rancorous farewell called “Hit 4 The Man (Chapel Hill)”, which shows up as the penultimate track on The Fractured Hymnal: “It’s an oasis of perverted arrogance, nothing but pretense and cold noise/The scene is desiccated, rusted and decayed/To drag us down their only joy.”

No, The Fractured Hymnal is not a cheery affair. Originally released in Europe under the title End Of The Line (with a slightly different tracklist), this album is full of twisted and bitter characters straight out of Sinclair Lewis’ Babbitt. Curry’s first-person narrator seems like the cranky guy you never saw in “Mayberry R.F.D.”, even though you knew he must be lurking around there somewhere. When Curry declares in “Mardi Gras” that he’s “madder than a middle-aged clerk,” you know just the kind of guy he’s describing.

Musically, The Fractured Hymnal is straight-ahead, meat-and-potatoes rock from a shifting lineup that includes Curry’s drummer/wife Graham Harris Curry and players from the Motorolla and Connells orbits. Aside from a couple of quiet piano and acoustic guitar interludes, Curry bashes away on electric guitar as he makes acidic observations in a drawling sneer reminiscent of Neil Young.

The closing “Christmas Day,” in which Curry vows to put the bad times behind him — “This is the last Christmas I’ll ever spend with you/This is the last time you will break my aching heart” — is about as upbeat as The Fractured Hymnal gets.

But hell, who wants upbeat, anyway?

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 #22 July-Aug 1999

Cover of Issue #22 July-Aug 1999

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