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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

  • By the Time You Read This, It'll Be Over: A Pre-Newport Ramble
    Missing the first night -- likely the best of the three, given my taste and interest -- is sort of a bummer. But, on the other hand there's still two more days and nights to wander around the festival site, to hopefully discover a new act or the reinvention of something old. And, to be completely honest, the music and performances will run second to jus […]
  • 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 […]
  • Chris Smither - Still on the Levee, A Fifty Year Retrospective (Album Review)
    I first heard Chris Smither in 1970. Not live, unfortunately, but on vinyl when picking up his first record I'm A Stranger Here Myself on the Poppy label, unheard, for the simple reason that it was Townes' label. I figured -- rightly so -- any label that knew what a talent he was could certainly be trusted. It did not disappoint. The album not only […]
  • 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 […]
  • Vancouver International Folk Music Festival Day One (Jericho Beach, Vancouver BC - July 18th, 2014)
    A glorious run of unseasonably warm weather for a couple of weeks in Vancouver had me all but convinced that the 37th annual edition of the Vancouver International Folk Music Festival would see rain. We can rarely rely on the sun for that long in the Pacific Northwest, so it seemed like a sure thing. As it turns out I was wrong —… […]

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