The Story of No Depression

ND History

No Depression was launched as a quarterly print magazine covering alternative- country music in 1995. The publication was co-founded by Peter Blackstock and Grant Alden, who brought in Kyla Fairchild as a co-publisher shortly thereafter. Over the course of thirteen years, No Depression gradually grew into one of the nation's most prominent and broad-ranging bimonthly music publications until it ceased print operations in June 2008. Along the way, No Depression received Utne Reader Independent Press Awards for Arts & Literature coverage, and was cited as one of the nation's Top 20 magazines of any kind in 2004 by the Chicago Tribune.

Other ventures during the company's print history included a No Depression Tour (featuring Whiskeytown, the Old 97's, Hazeldine, and the Picketts) in 1997; two best-of anthologies published by Dowling Press (1998) and University of Texas Press (2005); and the No Depression Radio Show, which aired on dozens of stations across the country in 2002 and 2003.

The magazine operated a website,, for 11 years in conjunction with its bimonthly publication. When print operations ceased, plans were made for a major expansion of the website to launch Fall 2008. We also teamed up with University of Texas Press to launch a new "bookazine" – a hybrid book/magazine project – three of which can be found in the No Depression store.

We held our first No Depression Festival at Marymoore Park in Seattle in July of 2009 and the second festival was in August of 2010.

And in case you were wondering: Our name, No Depression, refers to a song written by southern gospel pioneer J.D. Vaughan called "No Depression In Heaven." The Carter Family recorded it in 1936, making the song one of their few topical offerings. It was cut again by Charlie Monroe (Bill's brother and one-time singing partner) in 1948, released as the B-side of his 1950 RCA single "Mother's Not Dead." It next resurfaced, minus one verse, on a 1959 album by the New Lost City Ramblers (whose membership included Mike Seeger) called Songs From The Depression. That is the album that St. Louis band Uncle Tupelo heard and that they made the title track to their 1990 debut album. And that, in turn, led to the naming of an Internet discussion board, No Depression/Alt.Country. We thought all that history made it an ideal name for a magazine that wished to cover the past, present and future of American music. And with, we're echoing the roots of that first-generation discussion board.

However, the new is a lot more than just a discussion board. With more than 155,000 unique readers a month and growing, the No Depression community website is continuing ND’s tradition of giving voice to the roots music community. Members include journalists, videographers, artists, labels, PR folks, venue owners, DJs, festival promoters, podcasters, and fans from around the world. They contribute to this site around the clock with blog posts, reviews, music, videos, and live concert photography, and discuss what’s on their mind in our forum. Anyone is welcome to become a member and contribute so please join us.

A community manager keeps an eye and ear on everything added to the site and features the finest content on our homepage. While No Depression no longer has a traditional staff of writers and editors, the members of this site keep it vibrant, informative, and interesting.

Like any community, it’s only as good as all of us make it together. Think of this as your roots music playground. Invite your friends – the more, the merrier – and help us spread the word. Let us know if you have any ideas or feedback, and we’ll do what we can to help you make this the best community for indie-alt-country-roots-rock-Americana on the web.

We made the archive of our print issues available online in July of 2009 (thanks to the generous support of over 30 volunteers who spent many hours cutting and pasting the articles in a database). The historical and fully searchable database includes close to 7200 articles covering over 3000 artists and bands by hundreds of writers who contributed to No Depression during its 13-year run from 1995 to 2008. The Archives contain more than 99% of the content that was published in the magazine’s 75 print issues.

We welcome you to peruse the archives and join discussions in the community.

Please invite your friends to join you here!


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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.