BONUS TRACKS: 40 Years of John Prine’s Oh Boy and Black History Lessons from Rhiannon Giddens
Still image from an upcoming documentary about Oh Boy in celebration of the label's 40th anniversary. The writing reads "We make no 'B' sides" and is signed with the initials J.P.
You’ve got to check out this video of John Prine explaining why he named his record label “Oh Boy” when he and his manager started it 40 years ago. The clip is from a new documentary to mark the label’s anniversary that will air as a mini-series on Oh Boy’s YouTube channel. In true Oh Boy fashion, there’s a whole lot more celebration planned, including anniversary editions, box sets, and pop-up events in Nashville. (They’re also celebrating with their usual delightful tweets, including this gem of a vintage angry letter scolding Prine for being “sacrilegious.”) You can read more about the anniversary documentary and other plans at Rolling Stone.
As happens so often in Nashville (and cities across America), gentrification is threatening to eat up the beloved venue Exit/In. But its owners are fighting back, speaking out against zoning that would have allowed a chain hotel on “The Rock Block,” forging alliances with other local venues, and pitching in with the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) as it works to make lawmakers aware of venues’ value in local economies. Now the Exit/In owners may get funding to buy the building via a grant from a real estate developer’s Live Venue Recovery Fund. Read more about the fund, and the Exit/In’s fight, in Nashville Scene.
As if Rhiannon Giddens hasn’t given enough to the world already through her music, she’s also been posting a fascinating string of daily posts about Black history on her Facebook page this month. Her commentary makes history feel like a conversation, and each day is an exciting discovery. Sometimes her focus is on folks you’ve heard of (Nina Simone, Frederick Douglass) but other times we learn about people who quietly made remarkable contributions against incredible odds, like Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first Black woman to earn an M.D. (in 1865!) or Carter Woodson, whose teachings and writings in the early 20th century were the foundation for Black History Month. “The question is not why is there a Black History Month, but rather, why is there STILL a Black History Month?” Giddens remarks in her post about Woodson. “The need for it was never meant to last this long. And yet here we are.”
WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO
Here’s a sampling of the songs, albums, bands, and sounds No Depression staffers have been into this week:
David Wax Museum – “Love Comes Around”
Loretta Lynn and Margo Price – “One’s on the Way”
Jade Bird – “Open Up the Heavens”
Leslie Jordan – “Angel Band” featuring Brandi Carlile
Joy Oladokun – “look up”
Julien Baker – Little Oblivions
John Paul Keith – The Rhythm of the City
Vandoliers – “Every Saturday Night,” a scream-along punch right in the feels: