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 #32 March-April 2001

John Munson's Meltaway

400 Bar (Minneapolis, MN), January 11, 2001

For true music junkies, there is no pleasure greater than “the living room listening session,” an evening digging through record collections, sharing old favorites with friends, and, hopefully, picking up some new “old favorites” from them. On a cold January night in Minneapolis, Semisonic bassist John Munson brought the living room to the bar with Meltaway, an evening of covers culled from such late-night listening sessions.

It’s hard to say whether it was the crew of old friends joining Munson onstage, the way the 400 is far too relaxed to be called a nightclub, or the way hometown fans got to meet Munson’s mom (arguably the evening’s show stealer) as she mingled amongst the crowd — but somehow the evening seemed less like a concert and more like, well, just a night of music fans sharing their favorite tracks.

Munson hit the stage alone for a rich, vibrato-filled, a cappella rendition of “Love Like A River”, highlighting the often overlooked power of his pipes. From the gospel opening, he moved through a series of quiet duos and trios. Honeydogs frontman Adam Levy joined him on Jack Logan’s “Town Crier”; local roots-rock stalwart Mason Jennings dueted on Ron Sexsmith’s “Secret Heart”; percussionist Edgar Oliveira added zabumba (a Brazilian drum) to Munson’s bass and Jennings’ guitar for a sultry rendition of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home”.

Elvis Costello’s “Pay It Back” introduced the “house band” that backed Munson for the majority of the set — Jennings, George Scot McKelvey (Rhythm Jones), and Semisonic mate Jake Slichter. The quartet quickly kicked up the energy with soulful, stripped-down takes on works by the Spinners, the Faces, and Semisonic’s Dan Wilson (the unrecorded “Never Been Hurt”).

On ace Australian songwriter Paul Kelly’s lost classic “Careless”, Munson knocked out a series of virtuoso bass leads. Wilson and his brother Matt joined in to re-create the magical harmonies of Brian Wilson’s overlooked “Melt Away”. And the stage was packed with all of the evening’s participants to close the set with appropriately trippy channeling of John Lennon on “#9 Dream”.

The gathering of old friends would have been incomplete without at least one song from long-defunct but still-beloved Twin Cities pop band Trip Shakespeare, whose lineup included Munson and the Wilson brothers. They obliged with tight three-part harmonies on the delicate “Honey Tree”, moving crowd to near silence.

The show came to a end an hour before closing time, allowing musicians, fans and old friends to mingle, but not before things came full-circle with all the musicians joining in on a set-closing, full-band rendition of “Love Like A River”.

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

  • 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… […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • Instrumentally Speaking...Woodstock Gets Hungry for Music
    In 1992, while he was enrolled at George Washington University, Jeff Campbell had an idea that initially was inspired by a class project. The concept was to bring street musicians and other D.C. music talent together for a concert called Hungry for Music, that would benefit the Coalition Against Homelessness. These concerts were held in 1992 and 1993, and in […]
  • The Jayhawks at Shepherd’s Bush Empire (London, U.K. - July 18, 2014)
    A hot and steamy London night saw the Jayhawks' 1997 touring band play at this iconic venue in support of the recently released and remastered versions of the Sound of Lies (1997), Smile (2000) and Rainy Day Music (2003). The trilogy includes bonus tracks, alternative versions, demos, live takes, new liner notes and unreleased material from the band’s e […]
  • Selwyn Birchwood in Durham Central Park (Durham, N.C. - July 18, 2014)
    If you go to a Selwyn Birchwood show, the dance floor should be packed with enthusiastic hoofers. If not, the young Florida-based guitarist has a back-up plan: To ensure that there's at least one dancer gyrating to the beat, a mummified muppet voodoo doll dangles by his neck in front of the kick drum, hinged limbs jerking with every thump, paying silent […]

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