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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

  • SummerTyne Americana Festival #9 - Jumping Hot Club Stage (Gateshead, U.K. - July 18-20, 2014)
    Wow, it’s taken nearly two weeks for me to get my breath back after another frantic and wonderful SummerTyne Americana Festival. As I say every year, the crowds turn up not knowing anyone on the Jumping Hot Club Outside stage and go away with their favourite new artist of the year. Starting at noon on Friday, the outside stage hosted seven local acts, all wi […]
  • What Happens When a Band on the Rise Finds Out Its Name Is an Obscure Racial Stereotype? Meet Parsonsfield (Formerly Poor Old Shine).
    For Poor Old Shine, it started with a song… a traditional prison work song of the American South, called “Ain’t No Cane on This Brazos.” It’s been interpreted by everyone from Dylan and the Band, to the Low Anthem, Lyle Lovett and the Wood Brothers. And it was the song in one of the great scenes in the movie “Festival Express,” as a completely blotto Rick Da […]
  • Getting to Know Wendy Cahill -- Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist
    Wendy Cahill has a voice.  She’s got a voice that is captivating and beguiling.  She’s got soul.  And like I said above, man-oh-man, she has got a Voice.  It’s raw and powerful and is definitely meant to be heard! Wendy Cahill is one of 24 Emerging Artists chosen for this year’s Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.  The Emerging Artist showcase is always one of the h […]
  • The Post-Newport Earthquake: Watkins Family Hour
    Did you feel it? That's what everybody in Los Angeles asks each other whenever a shake or quake rattles and rolls through the valleys and flatlands. Sometimes there's just a release of pressure beneath the crust, and other times it's an up and down jolt that lasts only a second. And then you forget about it. Until the next time.  Sunday night […]
  • Johnny Winter - True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story (Album Review)
    “This music proves that a white man with white hair can really play the blues,” Pete Townsend says in the booklet that accompanies True To the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story, the four-CD box set retrospective of Winter's career just out on Columbia /Legacy. But age had nothing to do with Winter's look or sound. Due to his albinism, Winter's ha […]
  • Americana Music Show Episode #200 Tribute to the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill music scene
    On episode 200 of the Americana Music Show, I pay tribute to local bands and songwriters in the Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh NC area.  This week features over 30 local artists from the area including John Howie Jr. and the Rosewood Bluff, Lyn Blakey, Jefferson Hart and Ghosts of Old North State, Mandolin Orange, Jon Shain, Radar's Clowns Of Se […]

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