BONUS TRACKS: Jason Isbell’s Good Cause and a New Doc on Our Native Daughters
Another dose of good news: Mavis Staples tweeted this photo Thursday. “I’m relieved to have received my 2nd dose of the covid vaccination, and feeling fine,” the tweet said. “I encourage everyone to get yours as soon as you have the opportunity.”
Immediately after he was caught on video using a racial slur, Morgan Wallen’s latest album soared on the sales charts as his fans rushed to support him (rather, than, you know, holding him accountable for his actions). One of the songs on that album is his version of Jason Isbell’s “Cover Me Up” — which means Isbell gets royalties from all those sales. Mindful of this, Isbell tweeted Wednesday “I’ve decided to donate everything I’ve made so far from this album to the Nashville chapter of the @NAACP. Thanks for helping out a good cause, folks.” Read more about this — including some earlier discomfort about alcoholism-themed “Cover Me Up” appearing on a double album mostly celebrating drinking — from Variety.
The Smithsonian Channel announced a new documentary featuring the story and music of Our Native Daughters — a project from Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell, and Amythyst Kiah whose 2019 Songs of Our Native Daughters album explored the experiences of Black women throughout American history. The 44-minute film, titled Reclaiming History: Our Native Daughters, premieres on the Smithsonian Channel on Feb. 22 at 9 p.m. ET. See more info and additional air times here.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has announced the 16 nominees for its class of 2021. Making the list are Mary J. Blige, Kate Bush, Devo, Foo Fighters, The Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, Jay-Z, Chaka Khan, Carole King, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, Todd Rundgren, Tina Turner, and Dionne Warwick. Nominees are eligible if their first single or album was released in 1995 or earlier, and will be voted on by a selection of artists, historians, writers, and music industry leaders. Fans can also weigh in by voting at rockhall.com. The official class of 2021 will be named in May and an induction ceremony is planned for fall.
Mary Wilson, a founding member of The Supremes along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, died this week at the age of 76. Learn more about her remarkable life and career in this remembrance (with some great photos) from The New York Times.
Also leaving us this week was jazz pianist and cross-genre collaborator Chick Corea, who died from cancer Tuesday at the age of 79. He worked with Stan Getz, Herbie Mann, Miles Davis, Béla Fleck, and many others. Read more about his life and music at Rolling Stone.
Last week, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released a cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” with a heavy emphasis on working toward change that’s beneficial. They recruited guest singers for the verses, including Jason Isbell, Rosanne Cash, The War and Treaty, and Steve Earle, and proceeds from the song’s sales go to Feeding America. You can listen to the song and buy it here. NGDB’s Jeff Hanna remembers seeing Dylan play the song live at a high school in Long Beach, California, in 1964, and still has the poster (at right) to prove it.
Rodney Crowell gathered a bunch of friends (virtually) to create a 13-song album called Songs from Quarantine, Vol. 1, that raises money for the nonprofit Music Health Alliance. The album features artists including Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, and John Hiatt making stripped-down recordings of one of their songs — you can check out the track list and artists here. The album is only available until Feb. 19 — but word is a Volume 2, which will also benefit Music Health Alliance, is on the way.
WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO
Here’s a sampling of the songs, albums, bands, and sounds No Depression staffers have been into this week:
Spotify’s Our Roots playlist showcasing women of color in roots music, curated by Rhiannon Giddens
Otis Brown – South Side Chicago (a compilation of singles for Vinyl Me, Please)
Aaron Lee Tasjan – “Up All Night”
Langhorne Slim – Strawberry Mansion
Just in time for a very different Valentine’s Day, 2018 No Depression Singer-Songwriter Award finalist Heather Aubrey Lloyd’s “My Kinda Quarantiner,” which won gold in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest “for an honor I hope to NEVER have again,” she tells us — Best COVID Song: