BONUS TRACKS: John Prine’s Birthday and Real Talk on Dexamethasone
John Prine (photo by Jim McGuire)
Tomorrow would have been John Prine’s 74th birthday, and friends and family are celebrating with memories and music of the songwriting great (look for the hashtag #IRememberEverything on social media). Prine’s YouTube channel will re-air Picture Show: A Tribute Celebrating John Prine, which first broadcast in June and included storytelling and songs from Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, Kacey Musgraves, Bonnie Raitt, Sturgill Simpson, and actor Bill Murray. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Saturday and be viewable until midnight Sunday. Tune in here.
In a heartbreaking reminder of how racism runs rampant in this country, Mavericks trumpet player Lorenzo Molina Ruiz, along with his friend and fellow musician Orlando Morales, were severely beaten by a group of white men in a bar south of Nashville. Reportedly, the men told them to “speak fucking English in this country.” Posting on The Mavericks’ Facebook page Tuesday, frontman Raul Malo said: “For this assault to occur as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with our own performance (featuring Lorenzo) tonight on the Hispanic Heritage Awards, shows that although we’ve come a long way, we still have a long way to go. America is better than this.” Police were still seeking two suspects as of Thursday. A GoFundMe has been set up to support Ruiz and Morales.
We’ve heard a lot about dexamethasone this week as the president recovers from COVID-19. His doctor says the steroid is part of his treatment and that he’s “doing great” even though the drug is usually reserved for severe COVID-19 cases. Much has been made of dexamethasone’s potential side effects in patients not on ventilators — including blood clots, blurred vision, and “psychotic derangements.” Singer-songwriter Andrew Leahey is no doctor, but he’s got some direct experience with dexamethasone after a scary bout with a brain tumor in 2013. Leahey wrote of his experiences with the steroid, and his worries about a president working through its effects, in this piece for Rolling Stone.
Rhiannon Giddens appeared this week in an episode of Enslaved with Samuel L. Jackson. Across six episodes on EPIX, Jackson follows crews from Diving With a Purpose as they locate six slave ships that sank with their human cargo aboard, gleaning information about centuries of human trafficking between Africa and North America. Giddens, with Carolina Chocolate Drops bandmate Justin Robinson, appears in Episode 4, filmed in Mobile, Alabama.
Josh Ritter has announced he has a new novel coming in 2021. On social media he called The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All “the kind of tender-hearted, rowdy adventure story that I’ve wanted to write since I grew up on the side of a mountain in Idaho!” It follows 2011’s Bright’s Passage, which was reviewed in The New York Times by none other than Stephen King.
WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO
Here’s a sampling of the songs, albums, bands, and sounds No Depression staffers have been into this week:
Drive-By Truckers – The New OK
Kronos Quartet – Long Time Passing: Kronos Quartet and Friends Celebrate Pete Seeger
Van Halen (RIP, Eddie)
Laura Jane Grace – Stay Alive
Black Sabbath – Paranoid (Super Deluxe box set)
Sturgill Simpson – “Make Art Not Friends,” while watching the song’s new video: