Box Full of Letters from Issue #70
“Mediocre, soulless, pop crap”
The big difference between mainstreamers Patty Loveless and Miranda Lambert is that Patty has talent. When you put Miranda on the cover [ND #69, May-June 2007], I figured her album would be pretty good. Talk about a letdown. Mediocre, soulless, pop crap is what I heard. Music for the masses. I hope you have come to your senses, because I love No Depression. You guys have turned me onto a lot of great music.
— Mike Casello
Can’t win for losing
You can put whoever you want on the cover of your magazine, but when Grant Alden says that essentially the battle between mainstream country and alt.country is over and “we won,” I’d like to know who or what he was fighting for. Winning to me would mean that local country radio would play Dale Watson, Robbie Fulks, Elizabeth Cook or the country side of Neko Case. Instead you get artists that have more in common with American Idol than Buck Owens or Emmylou Harris. Sure there’s lots of talent in Nashville, but ask Rodney Crowell if he got played on the country stations there. Scenes ebb and flow and alt.country seems on a down swing of late, but mainstream artists Miranda Lambert, Big & Rich or Gretchen Wilson will never make music as close to my heart and soul as Son Volt, Big Sandy & the Fly-Rite Boys, or Kelly Willis. Thanks for listening.
— Jim Caligiuri
Y’all are so right
I was looking at your recent issue [ND #68, March-April 2007] in my local Barnes & Noble and came across the most excellent David Bromberg article by Barry Mazor. I am a longtime fan of Bromberg, a most underrated American musician, since 1977 actually (I date myself). I thought that this article did him so much justice and was so elegantly written. I was moved to the point of e-mailing friends and industry associates who I know are fans of David to run out and pick up a copy.
— Craig S. Hyman
New York, New York
Y’all are so wrong
I couldn’t help but wonder if the same pressure to meet a deadline (or possibly a general apathy toward reviewing Patti Smith’s Twelve) that caused Kurt B. Reighley to misstate “Boy In The Bubble” as being a Bob Dylan song also caused him to miss the merits of this fine album of covers [ND #69, May-June 2007]. Like any covers album, fans of the covering artist will probably be happier with the results than those of the originators, and this album is no exception. But to say she would have been just as well off putting out a mix CD is missing the point.
This has been a great celebratory year for Smith, with her long-overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As a fan for over 30 years now, I welcome an album that pays tribute to her influences and heroes, and covers those songs in her own unique way. I see this album as a way of acknowledging those who have affected her work over the years. If you’re a fan, that is a welcome gift.
— Bob Rose
Kansas City, Missouri
[Editor’s note: Reighley was not responsible for incorrectly attributing Paul Simon’s song to Dylan; that mistake was made in the editing process. Mea culpa.]
Y’all are so right again
I read the account of the Lyle Lovett/John Hiatt/Joe Ely/Guy Clark show in your “Miked” section by Holly Gleason [ND #69, May-June 2007]. She is one amazing writer! I still remember her description of Alison Krauss’ voice when Alison was first appearing on the scene. I think it was in a now-defunct magazine called New Country (a very cool publication from years ago). Her synopsis of each performer is just perfect. I had to stop and re-read it, and savor it, and re-read it again.
— Rick Wellinghoff
“A sadness that is hard to shake”
Dismay and daunt cast a shadow of billowing disbelief this morning that memory will never extinguish, as a large slice of Americana and country music’s heritage perished on this 10th day of April, 2007. The famous Hendersonville, Tennessee, home of the late Johnny and June Cash was destroyed by fire. This home, recently depicted in the movie Walk The Line and the Johnny Cash video “Hurt”, was also the nativity and asylum for many of Johnny’s songs and creativity.
Many influential and historic figures stayed or passed through Johnny’s home, including presidents, music royalty, and people from Billy Graham to Bob Dylan.
As the story broke and the news filtered through the television screen, along with images of despair, I could not believe the toxicity of these words. I will never forget the look on country singer Marty Stuart’s face, who lived next door to the Cash home, located on Old Hickory Lake. The reality of this finality is much like being overcome by smoke inhalation.
Can you imagine no Graceland or Radio City Music Hall? No trace left of The Grand Ole Opry? It is impossible, for me, to fathom the loss of this historic landmark and beautiful home.
The malignancy of this tragedy is soul crushing. There is a sadness that is hard to shake. Memories become ghosts, hauntings of another time. A stinging wickedness is left by the absence.
I can hear the words of Jeffrey Foucault’s “Miles From The Lightning” rolling between my ears and through the valley of my mind, while the heart derails into desolation and loneliness.
— Scott Michael Anderson
Windsor, New York
Where there’s No, uh, Depression
Overheard at the Austin Stage, Merlefest 2007, April 27, 2007 during the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest — dramatis personae: twentysomething man, twentysomething woman, fortysomething man…
TM [pointing to the No Depression banner]: What’s No Depression?
FM: It’s the name of the music magazine that co-sponsors this stage.
TM: What kind of name is that for a magazine?
FM: It’s taken from the title of the Uncle Tupelo album, which, in turn, was taken from the Carter Family Song “There’s No Depression In Heaven”.
TM [puzzled look on face]: What?
FM: You know, the Carter Family song that gave solace to many during the Depression.
TW [who up to this point showed no apparent interest in the conversation]: What were they depressed about?
— Amos Perrine
Charleston, West Virginia