Box Full of Letters from Issue #64
Alejandro & Jon Dee:
Catch the live shows
I was lucky enough to see Alejandro Escovedo (with Jon Dee Graham opening) at the Palms Playhouse in northern California late last year. Apparently this was his first tour since his illness. Is he doing well? WOW! This was one of the most amazing shows I have seen…ever! Jon Dee opened solo and played in Alejandro’s band and he burned down the house with his solos. They played like they had been playing all their lives together.
There was a young couple in the audience celebrating their first wedding anniversary and spontaneously, the entire band, strings and all, came into the middle of the audience and serenaded the couple unplugged for over 20 minutes…starting with the wedding song. Moved to tears does not fully describe the range of emotions this band can draw. You have to see Alejandro live to fully understand this guy.
— Ken Sanchez
What, no Haiku?
I would like to congratulate you for an excellent article on Alejandro Escovedo. Here in London, let alone in Europe, it is hard to obtain comprehensive articles on this great man and musician.
Although I was very happy to read the article, I was dismayed to see that there was no mention of one of Alejandro’s greatest recordings: his contribution “Haiku 4” to the Sigmatropic album Sixteen Haiku And Other Stories. This omission really baffles me. I overheard Alejandro himself, at his London Borderline gig, stating that this is one of the most beautiful albums he has ever heard. I believe we would have all benefited to find out more about this exotic band and recording, as Escovedo is in some great company: Robert Wyatt, Cat Power, Howe Gelb, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Wynn — to name a few of the eighteen guests.
I can appreciate this international release is by a Greek band, and the music is…erm…far removed (electronica/folk-tronica) from a No Depression perspective. Nevertheless, your magazine did break the rule and gave a glowing review of this album — much to my amazement — at the time of release! [ND #50, March-April 2003.]
— Edwin Copeland
“The mighty king of twang”
I’m a huge fan of your magazine, although I lean a little more toward the honky-tonk edge. I would love to see more on artists that embrace the tradition of honky-tonk music, such as Dale Watson, the Derailers, Junior Brown, etc. All these artists were heavily influenced by the mighty king of twang, Buck Owens.
I really enjoyed your article on Buck. Thanks for giving Buck his due. I felt he really should have gotten the cover shot, but at least you did give him a pretty good chunk of homage.
One thing I did notice though: On page 54, you printed a picture of Marty Robbins by mistake with the caption “The Buckaroos in a promotional still from a 1969 film titled From Nashville With Music.” I don’t recognize any of the musicians backing Marty Robbins as any of the Buckaroos.
Anyway, really enjoying what your doing. Keep it up…a little more honky-tonk twang alt-country…heavy on the country.
— Shawn Ohler
[Editor’s note: Our apologies for running the incorrect photo.]
Musicians and TV ads:
“Talented people selling their souls”
It can’t be a good thing for American music — its past, its present, or its future — when estimable musicians like Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison are seen on television pushing product for Big Pharma, or any other corporate entity for that matter. As fans, how can we not be embarrassed for them? Sure, they’ve got four kids to feed now and maybe those royalty checks from “Angry All The Time” and “Travelin’ Soldier” aren’t enough to pay all the bills, but why they would squander their hard-won artistic integrity so shamelessly is beyond me.
Why make an issue of this? I don’t know, maybe I’m not taking the right drugs — the kind that allow you to see talented people selling their souls and not be bothered by it. I don’t know what these meds are called, but a lot of people seem to be on them.
— Shawn Cote
Fort Fairfield, Maine
The last word:
Thanks, thanks a lot
Even though I’ve long been aware of your existence, I only started reading ND last year. I am convinced that you have the most well-written music magazine available. I’m only sorry I didn’t start reading you sooner.
— George Guttler