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

Hello Stranger - Editor's Note from Issue #32 March-April 2001

Hello Stranger

An advance copy of The Earth Rolls On arrived in my mailbox just before I left town for the holidays, as Grant and I were in the midst of pondering what to put on our next cover. Shaver was among the things on our short list, though, as always, we never really know which direction we’ll turn until we hear the music.

It didn’t take long for me to be convinced that Shaver was indeed the way to go — about two minutes and fourteen seconds, which is the running time of the record’s leadoff track, “Love Is So Sweet”. Right off the bat I played that song three or four times in a row. If brevity is the soul of wit, Shaver’s straight-to-the-point declaration suggests it’s also the heart of love. “Love is so sweet, it makes you bounce when you walk down the street.”

Such a life-affirming sentiment certainly wasn’t what I’d expected from Billy Joe Shaver right about now. Given that he’d recently lost both his wife and mother to cancer, what seemed more likely was an album along the lines of Jackson Browne’s Late For The Sky or Lou Reed’s Magic And Loss. Those deep explorations have their place, to be sure — but I found myself feeling truly glad for Billy Joe, as if he’d stared down the darkness and found his way back to the light. “I’ve got to say, I have looked at life a whole ‘nother way.”

So it was with overwhelming disbelief and sadness that we learned just a few days later of the death of Shaver’s son and longtime bandmate, Eddy. The story was all too familiar, but the timing seemed especially unmerciful in this case.

We wondered for a while how this would affect the plans we’d made — specifically, whether it was even thinkable to ask Billy Joe if he were willing to do an interview a mere two weeks after his son’s passing, which was unfortunately what our schedule required. Nobody should have to be concerned about marketing and promotion at a time like this.

But there’s more to it than that. This is, as Billy Joe realized, the last album that will be released under the band name Shaver, the final document of decades spent making music with his son. And it’s a tremendously good record. Their accomplishment is a shining beacon that should not be lost amidst the long shadows of this tragedy.

We’re genuinely grateful to Billy Joe, then, for making the effort to talk with us about his life and his songs, and about Eddy and the music they made together. It deserves to be heard.

Our photographer friend David Wilds sent along a picture of Eddy that appears with Grant’s cover story. David also included a note about his memories of the first time he heard Shaver’s music six years ago, and of the lasting impact it has had on him.

“I have a jones for that player who will pursue a personal statement, an artistic stance that is theirs alone,” David wrote. “Easy to identify, thrilling to see or hear, but done within an existing form. Done where others have tried, only to become one more vine climbing another man’s tree. Eddy Shaver reached for the same tools that others had put a hand to. A million other kids heard what he heard growing up. At least half of them bought guitars. He did have his daddy’s circle of friends as influence, but there are lots of us who had that and we made nothing of it. He picked up those time-honored tools and made great music, his own music. Eddy Shaver became an original. Once heard, he was easy to identify, and we sought out the opportunity to hear him again. Where rock borders country, he did his work. He did it as well as I’ve ever heard.”

I reckon Billy Joe would agree.

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 #32 March-April 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

  • By the Time You Read This, It'll Be Over: A Pre-Newport Ramble
    Missing the first night -- likely the best of the three, given my taste and interest -- is sort of a bummer. But, on the other hand there's still two more days and nights to wander around the festival site, to hopefully discover a new act or the reinvention of something old. And, to be completely honest, the music and performances will run second to jus […]
  • Your Interview with the Jayhawks' Gary Louris
    A couple of weeks ago, we announced a contest to give away some copies of the Jayhawks' remastered and reissued editions of Sound of Lies, Smile, and Rainy Day Music. In the process, we asked you to pose questions you'd like to see Jayhawks founding member Gary Louris answer. Fifty folks entered and Jayhawk Gary Louris… […]
  • Bill Frisell and “The Great Flood”
    I feel late to the game with Bill Frisell, discovering him around the time of East/West and just after The Intercontinentals.  We all have those moments of discovering something that is so beautiful and so complete (and even  quite popular), but… […]
  • Lake Street Dive Motorboats into the Big Time
    The usual pleasantries open the interview with Lake Street Dive's singer extraordinaire, Rachael Price. There’s a mention of a shared acquaintance and a nod to the band's previous appearances in town, the first before a tiny crowd at Norfolk's Taphouse in 2011. "Oh, I recall," Price says. "That was a very memorable show." I […]
  • Chris Smither - Still on the Levee, A Fifty Year Retrospective (Album Review)
    I first heard Chris Smither in 1970. Not live, unfortunately, but on vinyl when picking up his first record I'm A Stranger Here Myself on the Poppy label, unheard, for the simple reason that it was Townes' label. I figured -- rightly so -- any label that knew what a talent he was could certainly be trusted. It did not disappoint. The album not only […]
  • No Depression Is Getting a Facelift: A Note About What's Around the Bend
    Ever since we announced that No Depression had been acquired by FreshGrass back in March, we’ve heard from many of you with questions, concerns, and ideas about the future of this website and the community that gathers here. We created a forum topic at that time so we could organize these comments and refer to them frequently, which we have done as we’ve dev […]

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