BONUS TRACKS: Guitars of the Stars and Big News about Little Books
Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore holds a signed Fender guitar up for bid in NITO's Guitar and Stringed Instruments Auction.
With a bunch of unexpected free time on our hands this year, a lot of folks have taken up (or rededicated themselves to) learning an instrument. If you’re looking to reward yourself for all that practice, or to upgrade to something nicer, check out the Guitar and Stringed Instruments Auction launched this week by NITO, the National Independent Talent Organization. Up for bid through Dec. 13 are instruments from artists including Graham Nash, Tim O’Brien, Bonnie Raitt, Thurston Moore, Leon Bridges, David Bromberg, Nick Lowe, Chris Smither, John Mellencamp, Steve Martin, and many more. Proceeds help fund NITO’s efforts to encourage Congress to pass a COVID-19 relief package with assistance targeted to the live music industry.
For almost 20 years, the 33 1/3 book series has delivered deep dives into albums classic and obscure in delightfully small and uniformly designed packages perfect for a quick weekend read. One of my faves (you’re gonna make fun of me, and that’s fine) is Carl Wilson’s 2003 look at Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love. Not because I particularly like that album or even Dion herself, but because I couldn’t figure out how or why she’d gotten so massively popular, and the book — cheekily titled Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste — explains it all. Last week the folks at 33 1/3 announced their newest batch of books, which spans a wide range of genres, as the series always has, thanks to an open proposal system and a panel of advisers who sort through them. Among the albums explored in the 15 books we’ll see between next fall and spring 2023 are The National’s Boxer, Living Colour’s Time’s Up, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Cat Power’s Moon Pix, and John Prine’s self-titled album.
Hot off the heels of last week’s Record Store Day Black Friday, the RSD folks have issued a save-the-date for the next big event. The 2021 Record Store Day is planned for June 12. There’s no further information yet, but we’ve got our fingers crossed hard that perhaps it’ll be safe once again to do it the old-fashioned way. Doesn’t the idea of a long line and a crammed store (COVID-free) sound … kind of great right now?
Just a few months after winning Entertainer of the Year and Vocal Group honors at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Awards Show, Sister Sadie is losing a key member. Singer and guitarist Dale Ann Bradley announced she is leaving the supergroup she co-founded to focus on her solo career, which will include a new album slated for February on Pinecastle Records.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, but don’t forget an even better buying opportunity is happening right now: Bandcamp Friday! As it has since the start of the pandemic, the platform waives its take on the first Friday of the month to ensure artists get the full benefit of their sales. So grab your “nice” list and get ready for some gifting! Artists can sell merch, as well as music, on Bandcamp, and our friends at Folk Alley have a great list of some primo items you can wrap up for someone special.
WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO
Here’s a sampling of the songs, albums, bands, and sounds No Depression staffers have been into this week:
Nicole Atkins’ “The Last Waltz from Home” virtual event
Low – Christmas [EP]
Sarah Harmer – “Little Frogs” (with fun new video!)
The Jayhawks‘ Sound of Lies livestream
IBMA Leadership Bluegrass’ Play a Part concert series (started with Special Consensus, The Foreign Landers, and Darin & Brooke Aldridge this week and has two more livestreams, Dec. 8 and 15). The series is a fundraiser for IBMA’s programs that support musicians.
Neal Casal’s just-released final solo recordings, “Everything Is Moving” and “Green Moon”