Every year for the past five years, we have taken some time at the end of February to thank you all for showing up; to give shouts out to our bloggers and the people who post videos, comment, subscribe to our newsletters, follow us on various other social media outlets, support us with advertising, and so on. This year, we decided to wait a few days before sharing our gratitude and marking the special occasion of our fifth anniversary as a community-focused website, because we have some exciting news to share about a new phase of No Depression.
You may know that No Depression has been through many evolutions through the years. We started as an AOL message board back in the early 1990s, before founding Editors Grant Alden and Peter Blackstock spun the concept of an alt-country community into the pages of a print magazine. ND spent 13 years in print, from 1995-2008, before evolving yet again into an online entity. First, we gave it a go as a full-throttle e-magazine. But, in February 2009, we launched this site and opened the gate for anyone anywhere to populate our “pages” with their reviews, interviews, analysis, recommendations, and articles about the history and stylization of Americana music, whatever that is.
For five years now, you have helped us prove there is life after print. The articles and blogs you’ve written, the videos you’ve shared, the discussions you’ve begun in our forum, have kept the ND bar high. You’ve proven that an international community of music fans can sustain intelligent discourse around music, almost never devolving into personal attacks or petty disagreements. When debates have arisen, you’ve almost always kept it to the music – smart and civil – with an omnipresent understanding for what we all have in common. We are continuously impressed and invigorated by what takes place on this website, and are incredibly grateful for your ongoing participation.
Now for the news: After five years overseeing the ND Community website – eighteen total years as co-Publisher and Publisher of No Depression – Kyla Fairchild has decided to step back as ND heads into its latest evolution.
Taking over the reins will be Chris Wadsworth, founder of Freshgrass and co-producer of the Freshgrass Festival in North Adams, Mass. He will be assisted by husband-and-wife duo, Dave and Shelley Champine, who built and maintain their own grassroots music platform, Local Music Vibe. The San Francisco-based Freshgrass team will join forces with Kyla, Kim and Stacy to ensure No Depression remains the definitive roots music authority.
Chris is a lifelong bluegrass musician and avid fan of roots music. He took a turn into the world of finance and, after enjoying nearly two decades of that, decided to return to his first love and see what he could do in the grassroots music industry. Four years ago, Chris teamed up with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (www.massmoca.org) in North Adams, Mass., to start the annual Freshgrass festival, which could have just as well taken its various lineups straight from the pages of No Depression.
Though the music is his main focus, after a couple years of exciting growth of the festival (the 2014 lineup to be announced later this month), Chris started thinking that it would be nice to give the growing Freshgrass community a place to congregate throughout the rest of the year. He started looking at the possibility of creating a community online where Freshgrass fans could connect with other kindred spirits around the world. When he and Kyla started talking last year, the connection between his desire to develop an online community for roots/alt/country/Americana/indie/folk/rock fans and the direction ND has been headed these past five years, was pretty obvious.
So, On Friday, February 28th, five years to the day since we launched the ND community site here on the Ning platform, Freshgrass officially acquired No Depression.
Over the next couple of months, Kyla, Kim and Stacy will be working with them to get them oriented with how everything works. Though she will not be deeply entwined with the day-to-day activities, Kyla will remain involved and Kim will continue managing a good part of ND’s editorial side. Once she is up to speed, Shelley Champine will be your new Community Manager. Freshgrass will continue to be an entity unto itself, as will No Depression, though we expect there will be some great opportunities for the brands and their communities to mingle and grow together.
Chris and the Freshgrass team are committed to making this transition as seamless as possible so that you can continue reading, writing, and posting to ND the same way you have for the past five years. And, just as important this site will continue the legacy established years ago by Grant and Peter focusing on intelligent discourse about the music, the people who make it, and those who have been touched by it.
We’re excited about this next phase and know that our ongoing evolution will continue to make your time here enjoyable. After all, we could very certainly not have gotten this far without you. Nearly two decades after the print magazine launched, there is still no other place like No Depression for this kind of music, whatever you call it.
We hope you’ll continue to join us, sharing your thoughts and observations about this incredible music we all love. Thanks for five great years online, and here’s to many more!
~ Kyla, Kim, Stacy, Chris, Dave and Shelley