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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.

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Author: Jim Desmond

Waxed - Record Review from Issue #50 March-April 2004

Jim White – Drill A Hole In That Substrate And Tell Me What You See

Jim White’s mesmerizing voice and narrative songwriting cast a spell. David Byrne calls White’s music “Beautiful, dark and weird stuff.” I find the songs here even more compelling than those on White’s fine prior records, including the highly regarded Wrong Eyed Jesus. Particularly strong are the songs (roughly half) produced by Joe Henry, who infuses [...]

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Miked - Live Reviews from Issue #46 July-Aug 2003

Kathleen Edwards – Aladdin Theater (Portland, OR)

Well into her set, Kathleen Edwards’ remarkable artistic promise made itself evident as she threw caution aside during “Mercury”. Down on her knees, back to the audience, Edwards gave one of the quieter songs on her fine debut Failer an extended and noisy workout as she pulled far more emotion out of a guitar solo [...]

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Waxed - Record Review from Issue #43 Jan-Feb 2003

Little Sue – The Long Goodbye

Susannah Weaver, stage name Little Sue, has grown up. Her third record is her most nuanced and accomplished, in large part because of terrific production by Ezra Holbrook and tasteful contributions by more than a dozen of Portland’s best musicians and singers. Weaver’s artistic growth has apparently not been without its struggles. The Long Goodbye [...]

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Town and Country - Shorter Artist Feature from Issue #42 Nov-Dec 2002

Dan Zanes – Family style

Dan Zanes and I have come full circle. In a memorable night in the summer of 1984, after seeing R.E.M. and the Dream Syndicate, I rushed off to the Cubby Bear Lounge in Chicago to catch Dan Zanes lead the Del Fuegos through a blistering set opening for the Replacements. Today, Zanes is still quenching [...]

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Town and Country - Shorter Artist Feature from Issue #41 Sept-Oct 2002

James Low – Movin’ on up

James Low comes by songwriting honestly enough. His grandfather wrote show tunes and his father wrote folk songs in John Day, Oregon, a scenic but struggling timber town in remote Eastern Oregon where Low was raised. Now living in Portland, Low, 31, has just self-released his second album, Black Heart, a collection of country and [...]

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Miked - Live Reviews from Issue #38 March-April 2002

Chocolate Genius – Crystal Ballroom (Portland, OR)

Contemporary R&B is too often out of touch with its roots, while contemporary roots music too often lacks soul. There are exceptions (Ben Harper, the Roots, Bob Dylan, Joe Henry), but no one is transcending the genres and making more satisfying and soulful “roots” music than the man who calls himself the Chocolate Genius (Marc [...]

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Waxed - Record Review from Issue #38 March-April 2002

Dolly Varden – Forgiven Now

Dolly Varden is a gem of a band. On Forgiven Now, their fourth record, the Chicago quintet continues to refine their appealing blend of pop and country. Husband and wife Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen exude warmth and good taste. It doesn’t hurt that Dawson and Christiansen’s voices sound great together. But what works best [...]

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Waxed - Record Review from Issue #37 Jan-Feb 2002

Dexter Romweber – Chased By Martians

Feeling patriotic but just not quite able to fly a flag on your car or praise Donald Rumsfeld? Well, my suggestion would be to find an old Lincoln or Caddy and cruise through your ‘hood blasting some Dexter Romweber music. Seemingly possessed by rock ‘n’ roll, Dexter has been dishing out his unique brand of [...]

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Screen Door - Last Page Essay from Issue #34 July-Aug 2001

Still Feeling Almost Blue

An unlikely source turned me on to country music twenty years ago while I was living in Nashville. In May 1981 Elvis Costello, my musical hero, came to Music City to record Almost Blue. This might not seem surprising now, given Costello’s work with artists as diverse as Burt Bacharach and the Brodsky Quartet. But [...]

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Waxed - Record Review from Issue #32 March-April 2001

Jerry Joseph – Everything Was Beautiful

Reputations can be hard to shake. Jerry Joseph, now based in Portland, Oregon, after bouncing around various western cities, sometimes is written off as a “hippie rocker” stemming from his days with jam band Little Women, or dismissed as noisy and raw from his more recent work with power trio the Jackmormons. The common problem [...]

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From the Blogs

  • Jimbo Mathus on Americana Music Show #188
    On episode 188 of the Americana Music Show, Jimbo Mathus plays tracks from Dark Night Of The Soul, talks about going from "sepia tones to ultrachrome" and the "crazy Mississippi white boy chain."  Also in this episode, indie rock from Bobby Bare Jr., heartland rock from Jonny Two Bags, country rock from Rodney Crowell, road tripo music fr […]
  • The War on Drugs: From Dylan to Dire Straits, By Way of Attrition
    Whether on the basketball court or onstage, when two supreme talents join forces, it tends to make things better. Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen, LeBron James needs Dwyane Wade, McCartney clearly needed Lennon, and Salt would be a run-of-the mill condiment without Pepa. But there are exceptions to such… […]
  • Dylan, "Desire" and the (other) Story of Hurricane: A Lesson In Fatherhood
    Reading of the death of former pro boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter today awoke an old memory which reminded me how lucky I was to have, what in retrospect, was a pretty cool father.  I should add by "cool" I do not mean some kind of "over the hill hipster" who, in a desperate attempt at trying to stay relevant smokes pot or acts […]
  • Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes – Black Coffee (Album Review)
    After a successful solo outing, Aussie country singer Lachlan Bryan got his old band back into the studio and came up with this cracker of an album. It was released in the autumn of last year in Australia and subsequently picked up a major award as “Alternative Country” album of the year. Such acclaim means any belated praise from me is superfluous, but I’m […]
  • Album Reviews: Gord Downie & The Sadies, Bruce Springsteen, Lost & Nameless, The Annie Ford Band
    Gord Downie, The Sadies, and the Conquering Sun The lead singer of one of Canada’s most influential rock bands gets together with one of the best live bands ever for a collaborative effort and the expected results could range anywhere from confusion to straight ahead awesomeness. Thankfully (and not surprisingly, given the players involved) the semi-eponymou […]
  • Blackberry Smoke Is the Goddamn Truth
    Southern rock is a stylistic hodgepodge--a musical mutt.  Yet in this gumbo pot of a country, its impurities and cross-breeding make it the most American genre of all. And with the Allman Brothers drawing down, southern rock's current standard bearer is Blackberry Smoke, a lofty perch they hardly jeopardized during a lively set last night at Seattle […]

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