BONUS TRACKS: Dolly Addresses the Cowards and The Bottle Rockets Call It Quits
Dolly Parton receives her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine -- the one she helped fund -- from her friend Dr. Naji Abumrad. (photo via @DollyParton on Twitter)
We’ve been holding our breath for weeks, but it finally happened! Dolly Parton got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (that she helped pay for, ahem). The feeling of relief from that is reward enough, but Dolly added a little extra shimmer with a video documenting the experience, complete with a COVID-themed adaptation of “Jolene” and a call for everyone to join her when it’s their turn. “I just want to say to all of you cowards out there, don’t be such a chicken squat, get out there and get your shot,” she says, and you’d better believe we’re listening.
The time off the road delivered by the coronavirus has opened space for a lot of road-dog artists to be still and do some thinking, which has a way of leading to some big decisions. That appears to be the case for The Bottle Rockets’ Brian Henneman, who announced this week that he’s “givin’ it up. Packin’ it in. Retiring. I’m done.” He explained in the announcement that “home is where my passion lies these days,” and he intends to stay there. In a note from the band that accompanied the announcement, The Bottle Rockets clarified that the news means that the band, too, “can’t continue as we know it.” It’s tough news to hear, but there’s a wealth of music from this band that will help considerably when it feels like gravity’s failed.
Spring is in the air, vaccines are going into arms, and doesn’t it feel like something like normal might finally be in sight? Live Nation’s CEO, Michael Rapino, expressed optimism in an earnings call that large-scale, outdoor concerts might be on the horizon, Spin reported. Likewise, the British government set June 21 as the target date to resume large events there at 100% capacity. Two major UK festivals set for August sold out within days of going on sale. Will such gatherings be safe? Will masks be required? Or proof of vaccination? There are a lot of unknowns, and if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that all optimism should be the cautious kind. But I’m starting to dare to hope, just a little.
Mary Gauthier knows a thing or two about songwriting, and she’s packing all that wisdom, along with her life story, into her first book. Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting will be published by St. Martin’s Essentials on July 6, and is described in an announcement as “part memoir, part musical spirit guide.” You can get a taste of that blend in Gauthier’s wonderful TED Talk from 2018.
Coordinating several vaccination sites in Baltimore these days is a man named Terry Sapp, who trained for the job well before he was a county employee. In a previous career, he was a roadie for Twisted Sister, touring with them from 2004 to 2016, and it turns out there are plenty of similarities between setting up a stage and positioning medical supplies and people during a vaccination event. Read about how his past experience is informing his work now in this story from The Baltimore Sun.
Usually an album release announcement is a bit of joyful news, but it had to have been bittersweet for The Steel Woods to decide to move forward with the release of All of Your Stones, which had wrapped up recording before frontman and co-founder Jason “Rowdy” Cope died in his sleep in January. (The cause of death has not yet been determined.) The band has decided to continue, and said in an announcement that they consider the new album, out May 14, “a tribute to the heart, soul, love, and vision” Cope brought to the music. Read more and hear the album’s title track at American Songwriter.
Today is the first Friday of March, which means it’s Bandcamp Friday — when the platform waives its take on sales, maximizing the money artists can put in their pockets. So it’s a great day to buy some music!
WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO
Here’s a sampling of the songs, albums, bands, and sounds No Depression staffers have been into this week:
Allison Russell – “Everything I Wanted” (Billie Eilish cover)
Lula Wiles – “Television,” from their upcoming album, Shame and Sedition, coming in May
John Hiatt with the Jerry Douglas Band – “All the Lilacs in Ohio,” from their upcoming album, Leftover Feelings, coming in May
Bobby Lee – Origin Myths
Anders Osborne – Orpheus and the Mermaids
Abraham Marder – “Green”
Sierra Hull – “Less (Remix)”
Rhiannon Giddens with Fransesco Turrisi– “Waterbound,” from her upcoming album, They’re Calling Me Home, coming in April
Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors – “I Need to Go Somewhere”