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

Not Fade Away - Reissue Review from Issue #31 Jan-Feb 2001

Arlo Guthrie

Outlasting The Blues / Power Of Love (Koch)

Outlasting the Blues (1979) features Arlo Guthrie on the cover with a saxophone, a bad but unrepresentative sign. Inside he offers some of the most searching — of self, society and spirit — lyrics he ever wrote. “In the event of my demise,” he starts, “Be sure to include this statement.” Over the course of these eleven songs, culminating in an exquisite version of Hoyt Axton’s “Evangelina”, that statement defines what will last: words and music made out of charitable love, the kind St. Paul celebrated.

As Dylan turned to a fundamentalesque Christianity, Guthrie turned to a mystical (yet progressive) Catholicism, and, as in a Graham Greene novel, a committed spiritual gravity deepens his vision. “Wedding Song” is a classic, a soul-restorative melody, a love lyric that counts, and an arrangement — lushly and sensitively handled by Shenandoah’s David Grover, Dan Velika, Steve and Carol Ide, and Terry A La Berry — that captures the agape Guthrie celebrates.

Had the production been so consistently supple, Outlasting The Blues would be a classic. Often the string arrangements, guitar parts/tones, and backing vocals are overblown and very ’70s. Berry’s drumming, especially, is scattershot and sloppy.

If Guthrie never attained the change-your-life revelation that Dylan did with his best autobiographical and religious material, or cut as close to every man’s truth as Woody could, he often wrote better melodies. Power Of Love (1981) contains two good ones in “Slow Boat” and the reggae-ified “Living Like A Legend”. These are original folk songs of maturity and self-understanding, their spirituality intimated rather than asserted.

They are also the album’s only two originals. The rest are well-chosen covers, including T Bone Burnett’s title song, Richard Thompson’s “When I Get To The Border”, Erving Burgess’ “Jamaica Farewell” and Jimmy Webb’s “Oklahoma Nights” (the only clunker being David Mallett’s “Garden Song”, a hippie-in-the-garden nursery rhyme).

Production, as on Outlasting The Blues, is rather dated. The strings seem canned, and every arrangement has at least one or two too many instruments (at least the rhythm section of Russ Kunkel and Bob Glaub rocks). But judging this twofer by the songs and Arlo’s always unpretentious, wirey delivery, you’ll find much worth savoring and saving.

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


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 #31 Jan-Feb 2001

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

  • SummerTyne Americana Festival #9 - Jumping Hot Club Stage (Gateshead, U.K. - July 18-20, 2014)
    photos from this Festival are available here - http://www.harrisonaphotos.co.uk/Music/SummerTyne-2014/ Wow, it’s taken nearly two weeks for me to get my breath back after another frantic and wonderful SummerTyne Americana Festival. As I say every year, the crowds turn up not knowing anyone on the Jumping Hot Club… […]
  • The Song's the Thing: An Interview with Robby Hecht
    Robby Hecht sings like a whisper, like a hesitant truth that simply can’t go unsung anymore. His songs can invoke starry nights and fog rolling in on the beach. Lights turning off. Front porch silences and morning walks alone. Holding hands for the first time, letting go for the last. Across his three indie releases, Hecht has distinguished himself as the se […]
  • What Happens When a Band on the Rise Finds Out Its Name Is an Obscure Racial Stereotype? Meet Parsonsfield (Formerly Poor Old Shine).
    For Poor Old Shine, it started with a song… a traditional prison work song of the American South, called “Ain’t No Cane on This Brazos.” It’s been interpreted by everyone from Dylan and the Band, to the Low Anthem, Lyle Lovett and the Wood Brothers. And it was the song in one of the great scenes in the movie “Festival Express,” as a completely blotto Rick Da […]
  • The Infamous Stringdusters on Country Fried Rock
    The Infamous Stringdusters tour so much that they even have their own festival, the Festy, with a fabulous lineup including our alumni, New Country Rehab. Chris Pandolfi and Andy Hall are so in sync that they alternate answering questions and finish each others' sentences. For their fifth album, Let It Go, the… […]
  • Jillpoke Bohemia: An Interview with the Author, Conducted by Himself - Part 2
    Let’s talk about the music behind Jillpoke Bohemia. Webcomics don’t typically have soundtracks, but one can imagine that a Jillpoke Bohemia soundtrack might sound pretty cool. Sure.  Maybe the comic could be represented by a virtual band, in the tradition of the Archies and the Gorillaz.  If we could find a couple of unknown musicians who sound the way I ima […]
  • Getting to Know Wendy Cahill -- Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist
    Wendy Cahill has a voice.  She’s got a voice that is captivating and beguiling.  She’s got soul.  And like I said above, man-oh-man, she has got a Voice.  It’s raw and powerful and is definitely meant to be heard! Wendy Cahill is one of 24 Emerging Artists chosen for this year’s Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.  The Emerging Artist showcase is always one of the h […]

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