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 #69 May-June 2007

Guy ClarkJoe ElyJohn HiattLyle Lovett

State Theatre (Cleveland, OH), January 20, 2007

You have to start at the end — where they paid respects to Townes Van Zandt, the songwriter/compadre who captured the essence of life after being on the lam in “Pancho & Lefty” with the snippet, “The desert’s quiet and Cleveland’s cold.” Indeed it was cold, very cold, in downtown Cleveland the night Guy Clark, Joe Ely, John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett took four chairs and three hours to build a bonfire from well-loved songs. Their deep camaraderie and loose talk spoke volumes about where and how songs that matter come about, infusing the gathered midwestern faithful with a warm glow from the inside. All four are singular artists; their uniqueness is their common ground. Lovett is the hipster bebop jazz-timed crooner with the bent details and the bruised heart. Hiatt is the souled-up sweaty rock-swamp family guy whose real-life moments are mirrors for the middle class; Ely is the rogue drifter, equal parts border texture, stoic machismo and honor-steeped romance. Clark is all oak, musk and knowing, his economy of word shining through a prism to reveal the beauty of daily living. Each delivered on expectation. Together — with the laughing, story-swapping questions posed by ad hoc host Lovett — they were more. The effortlessness took on a grace from the shared respect and onstage intimacy: Clark offered the elegiac “Let Him Roll” in his deep, even tones; Hiatt dredged “Crossing Muddy Waters” with his guts turned inside out; Lovett’s steamy “My Baby Don’t Tolerate” shot through with the eroticism of how it is; Ely delivered his plaintive, threadbare “Letters To Laredo” with faded cowboy bravado. It was a master class on why great songs cling to one’s mind long after the guitar cases are packed up. To hear the men who created tender hymns of falter (Hiatt’s “Have A Little Faith In Me”), resolution (Ely’s “Settle For Love”), desperation (Lovett’s “L.A. County”) and decadent simplicity (Clark’s “Homegrown Tomatoes”) so unadorned is to understand that blood flows through these songs. They’re hollow-point bullets that’ll take your breath, hit you point blank, haunt you like the ghost of the one you lost. Listening to them telling stories as they dip into Hiatt’s rousing, feel-good “Memphis In The Meantime”, Lovett’s mirthful drifter’s declaration “If I Had A Pony”, Ely’s fanciful revenge tale “Me & Billy The Kid” — or even growing quiet for Clark’s urgent “Magdalene” — one understands, quite plainly, that this is what they do. Their performances bore witness to why these songs are such a part of the culture: They are circumstances each of us can embrace. Desperadoes’ escapes can sometimes be simply — as Clark opened the night — to “just get offa this L.A. freeway without getting killed or caught.” In that everyday revolt, the rebel in us plays out.

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 #69 May-June 2007

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

  • 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 […]
  • A Preview: Pt. Reyes’ Far West Fest Is a Huge Model for Pint-sized Festivals
    For the last six years, my husband Dave and I have been involved in a funky little homegrown festival called the Far West Fest in Pt. Reyes Station, Calif. For us, it’s a great way to get back to our theatrical roots while helping to support live music. We have stage-managed at least one of the three stages and been involved in set-up,… […]
  • Freight Train Boogie Show #263 featuring The Duhks, Seth Walker, Jacob Thomas Jr, Amy Lavere and The Felice Brothers
    FTB Show #263 features the new album by The Duhks called Beyond the Blue. Also new music from Jacob Thomas Jr, Amy Lavere and The Felice Brothers.  Here's the direct link to listen now! Show #263… […]
  • Jeff Crosby & The Refugees - All Nighter (Album Review)
    “Stop Runnin,” the first track, launches in with a very Tom-Petty-esque guitar part. Shortly after, Crosby’s gruff vocal hits it and I am listening. You got me, Jeff. Full band, rock and roll. Its good. The second track has a little bit of a Swinging Steaks feel to me, with the lead line of the electric guitar. I like the Steaks, this again, is good and I am […]
  • Eric Clapton - Unplugged, 2CD+DVD (Album Review)
    Here’s a slightly unusual candidate for reissue: Eric Clapton‘s 1992 Unplugged album. To my knowledge, this massively commercially successful album has never gone out of print, which begs the question: why reissue it? To be fair, this 2014 reissue does include some bonus material. But first, let’s take a look at the original… […]
  • Getting to Know Jesse Terry -- Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist
    I first got to hear Jesse Terry at NERFA (North East Regional Folk Alliance) two years ago.  I was captivated by his songs and he had such a nice, easy rapport with his audience that it was impossible to ignore his presence at a conference full of hundreds of other singer-songwriters. One listen wasn’t enough. Two listens wasn’t enough. You get the… […]

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