Box Full of Letters from Issue #65
Cry, Cry, Cry
By coincidence I just found myself simultaneously listening to Carryin’ On With Johnny Cash & June Carter and reading David Cantwell’s review of American V: A Hundred Highways [ND #64, July-August ’06].
With “Long-Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man” pounding my ribcage, Cantwell’s description of “Like The 309” got my gut quivering. The tears fell in the next paragraph, “…it’s hard to know she’s gone forever…” (Hank Williams).
Ache, loss, love, defeat, shame — Johnny’s always drawn tears from my soul. But a record review? Never!
This is gonna be a helluva record.
— Kevin Sterling
Glen Rock, Pennsylvania
Here’s where the strings come in
No Depression and its responding readers have pretty much said it all recently regarding Alejandro Escovedo’s talents. I would add only this: How much more might the artist accomplish, staked to a full orchestra of his choosing? Escovedo is a composer and arranger unlike any I have seen in the broad pop genre his writing and selfless arrangements open his songs to joyous collaboration among his fellow performers.
If I were king, I’d stake him to that orchestra, and a concert hall to boot. He deserves nothing less. I’ve no doubt he’d blow that roof off as well.
— Mark Durkin
New York, New York
Musicians and TV ads:
In defense of Willis and Robison
It’s hard to believe that a reader would take the time to criticize Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison about the commercials for Claritin D [Box Full of Letters, ND #64, July-August ’06]. It would be better to spend that time writing to Congress and telling them to get real about the compensation for songwriters. When that letter writer has been paid around 9 cents to do their job, then maybe they can criticize. The singer/songwriter/ recording artist may fare better, but my point is how can one seriously condemn them for something like this?
Until the songwriter can make a living wage, then whatever they need to do (murder, or selling crack or meth excepted) is what they need to do.
To beat a dead horse: Songwriters are the only workers who have a maximum wage determined by Congress. Everywhere they turn (especially since the advent of the internet) their work and subsequently their compensation is stolen. So I would admonish the reader to, A) back the hell off, B) mind your own business, and C) the day that you will work for 9 cents an hour, write another letter.
— Margaret Goforth
Round Rock, Texas
Much ado about wrestling
Today I picked up the new issue (#64) as it appeared on the newsstand, and had only reached the second paragraph of Grant Alden’s “Hello Stranger” column to be prompted to offer a correction: “Dean Kiniski” (the great wrassler of the ’60’s and ’70s) is, in fact, named Gene Kinisky.
I recall one evening in the late ’60s meeting the gentleman in the Vancouver airport. He kindly gave me an autograph (which I no longer possess) and as I recall was a very gracious individual, much to the surprise of this teenager who had only seen him on TV in the ring with other apparently uncivilized athletes.
Otherwise, keep up the good work! No Depression has provided me much information and inspiration since I started reading it a couple of years ago. Shame that I’ll have to wait two whole months for my next fix!
— Norm Westbrook
Kamloops, British Columbia
Shuffling off in Buffalo
I was a longtime subscriber to No Depression. When I discovered it with issue #4 I felt I’d found something that not only could I relate to but that might also relate to me as a roots-music musician. It was encouraging at first — lots of regional coverage and indie bands. But slowly the content got more exclusive and the writing stale. I lasted to #54 before finally letting my subscription lapse. The most disappointing thing was that, reading No Depression, one could easily get the impression that the area of the country above Mason-Dixon and between Chicago and New York City was devoid of any “alt-country (whatever that is)” or “American Music” worth mentioning.
I recently picked up the current issue to see if there had been any change. I like the layout adjustments (you got a better handle on using color inside) and the features are decent. The reviews… so-so. In a publication with a broader scope it would be useful to say, “literate tunes that straddle the borders between country-rock, pop, folk, and rock ‘n’ roll.” But in No Depression that’s a little like saying, “There’s guitars on this one.” The coverage? Same as it ever was: Seattle. Los Angeles. Austin. Houston. Chicago. Nashville. Atlanta. New York City. The Rust Belt coverage amounts to a review of some old Motown music and three stores that report for your chart.
I know that Buffalo is not the center of the universe, and I know that a publication like yours depends a lot on the locations and interests of the contributing writers. But everyone has a little regional pride and everyone likes to be invited to the party.
— David Meinzer
Buffalo, New York
“Modern mainstream culture”:
You talkin’ to us?
I finally got a two-year subscription to No Depression. I get a lot of mags by mail, and you guys went right to No. 1 with the first issue I received! You guys have one hell of an all-around, well done magazine for people who truly want to find a wider scope of music for their ears! I should have been gettin’ it a long time ago. From your well-written reviews of releases, concerts… I cannot say enough good about you guys!
I do things the old-fashioned way, use paper and a pen, a turntable & LPs, two-channel stereo. It would be great to know that someone read this letter… and can give me hope that not everybody has went the way of “modern mainstream culture.” I know you’re there — just by reading one issue!
— Tom Brandt
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