Field Reportings from Issue #13
FAREWELL, ANASTASIA: It was an emotional evening at a packed Schubas Tavern on October 21 as Chicago’s alternative country community bid farewell to the club’s talent buyer, Anastasia Davies. During her five-year stint, Davies booked hundreds of great bands, including Blue Mountain, Richard Buckner, Buick MacKane, Calexico, Hammell On Trial, the Honeydogs, Gillian Welch and Shannon Worrell. (The photos of Son Volt for the cover story of the Fall 1995 debut issue of No Depression were shot at a Schubas show in August ’95.) Said Davies before her fete, “I was so fortunate to be given the opportunity to bring in real music. Without people trusting in my taste, I couldn’t have done it.” The show’s headliners, the Waco Brothers, were joined by twelve other acts, including Devil in the Woodpile (Paul K and ex-Bottle Rocket Tom Ray), Dolly Varden, Honky Tonk Man, Jason & Allison, Chris Mills, and the Plunging Necklines. The highlights were personalized musical tributes: Robbie Fulks sang the humorous, heartfelt “Anastasia”, while Syd Straw and Poi Dog Pondering’s Dag Juhlin provided new lyrics to a Fleetwood Mac megahit, which featured the chorus “Anastasia Davies, go your own way.”
WILCO STUDIO: After playing the final two shows of a more-than-yearlong tour in support of Being There in Austin on Nov. 7-8, Wilco spent a couple days at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studio just outside of Austin, with tentative plans to return for more sessions there in February. January, meanwhile, finds the band overseas, recording an album of Woody Guthrie songs in Dublin with English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg.
TV TUNES: The PBS television show Austin City Limits taped a special tribute to Townes Van Zandt on Dec. 7 that’s tentatively scheduled to air in late March. Performers included Guy Clark, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, Peter Rowan, Rodney Crowell, Cowboy Jack Clement, and Townes’ son, J.T. Van Zandt. Look for a review of the event in the next issue of No Depression.
AUSTIN SIGNINGS: A handful of acts from Austin have new record deals. Brothers Bruce Robison and Charlie Robison both have joined Nashville-based Sony affiliate Lucky Dog. Bruce released an album last year on his own label, Boar’s Nest; previously, both Robisons had released solo albums on Vireo Records….
The Austin Lounge Lizards, onetime Flying Fish recording artists and most recently a member of the Watermelon stable, have moved to Sugar Hill. Their first release for the label, Employee Of The Month, is due out Feb. 17….
A new recruit to the Watermelon roster is singer-songwriter Damon Bramblett, whose debut should be out sometime in early-mid ’98.
BITS & PIECES: The schedule for the second annual “Twangfest” weekend in St. Louis, Missouri, has changed since last issue, when we reported it would be held June 5-6. The new date is June 12-13….
Jason & the Scorchers recorded a live album at the Exit/In in their hometown of Nashville on Nov. 7-8. It’s scheduled to be released this spring on Mammoth Records.
SURVEY SEZ: A new survey, sponsored by the Country Music Association, reports that 68 percent of country music fans feel that “the new Country singers are as good as the established ones.” The highest percentage of listeners is in the Midwest, not the South. Hello, Chicago.