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 #35 Sept-Oct 2001

16 Horsepower

Hoarse (Checkered Past)

By now, it’s neither a novelty nor an understatement to compare gothic hillbilly foursome 16 Horsepower to Flannery O’Connor, with whom they share a love of gloomy portentousness, a flair for the grotesque, and a fondness for obscure Biblical analogies. If the aforementioned qualities don’t sound like a whole lot of fun, you’d be well advised to avoid Hoarse.

Recorded live in 1998 in Denver (where leader David Eugene Edwards is from) and Paris (where they’re adored), Hoarse has a solid sonic quality and a wise track selection. The songs are altered little from their studio versions, with the notable exception of a revamped, slowed-down “Horse Head” and a bluegrass-tinged “Black Lung”. “South Pennsylvania Waltz” and “Black Soul Choir” are both tightly contained and gorgeous, “Brimstone Rock” is typically fervent, and the group maintains its usual aura of murky dread throughout.

That 16 Horsepower remain essentially unaltered from their doomsaying, early ’90s selves is both a credit to their consistency and a bit problematic. Maybe that’s one reason why they try to enliven the proceedings with three equally effective covers: an earnest version of Joy Division’s “Day Of The Lords”, an uncharacteristically vigorous reworking of Gun Club’s swampy “Fire Spirit”, and a slowed-down “Bad Moon Rising”. The last is an obvious choice — in three verses, John Fogerty does everything 16 Horsepower has been trying to do for eight years.

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 #35 Sept-Oct 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

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