Field Reportings from Issue #15
HIGHER GROUND: Just before this issue of No Depression went to press, country music legend Tammy Wynette died in her sleep from a blood clot, on April 6. She was 55. Best-known for her oft-revived 1968 smash “Stand By Your Man”, Wynette had twenty #1 country hits and more than 50 albums to her credit. A full-page remembrance on Wynette will follow in the next issue of No Depression.
COMING SOON: Lucinda Williams’ long-awaited Car Wheels On A Gravel Road, the subject of various re-recordings, reschedulings and relocations within the music industry for the past four years, finally appears to have settled on Mercury Records. We received reports of a release date of either June 23 or July 21, depending on which department within the Mercury megaplex you’re inclined to trust the most….
Elektra has set a June 23 release date for Mermaid Avenue, the much-talked-about collaboration between Billy Bragg and Wilco featuring long-lost lyrics by Woody Guthrie set to new music written by Bragg and Wilco, at the behest of Woody’s daughter, Nora Guthrie. Song titles include “Ingrid Bergman”, “Christ For President”, “Birds And Ships”, and “Walt Whitman’s Niece”.
MORE WOODY: Ani DiFranco is also reportedly working on a Guthrie project featuring material recorded at musical performances and panel discussions during the Woody Guthrie tribute weekend hosted by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland Sept. 28-29, 1996. No release date has been set….
And James Talley, whose 1975 album Got No Bread, No Milk, No Money is a lost classic of country music, has had discussions with a major label about releasing an album of Woody Guthrie songs he recorded at a studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1994….
Guthrie will also be featured on an upcoming United States Postal Service postage stamp, as part of an ongoing “Legends of Music” series. Also included in this newest phase will be Huddie Ledbetter (aka Lead Belly), Sonny Terry and Josh White.
BITS & PIECES: Sire continues to reach its tentacles into the Nashville underground. The solo debut of Tim Carroll (author of the alt.country anthem “Every Kind Of Music But Country”) is due out on Sire in mid-July; meanwhile, the label has also signed backwoods singer-songwriter Hayseed (a Lucinda Williams protege) and mod-pop band the Nevers….
The World Famous Blue Jays, the Brooklyn, New York, band fronted by Diesel Only label honcho Jeremy Tepper, have several songs in the Michael Moore documentary The Big One, a Miramax film which debuted in New York City in early April and is scheduled to hit most markets this spring. Tracks by Son Volt, the Yayhoos and Johnny Cash are also featured in the film, but there is no soundtrack available at this point….
Singer-songwriter Michael Martin Murphey has formed a new record label, WestFest, in conjunction with Valley Entertainment distribution company. The label’s first release, Murphey’s Cowboy Songs, Vol. 4, will coincide with Murphey’s annual Colorado Westfest, July 3-5 at Silver Creek Resort near Denver….
Import releases on European label Glitterhouse, which has issued overseas-only discs by such acts as the Walkabouts, Rainer Ptacek, Hazeldine and many others that may be of interest to alt.country fans, are now available by mail order from Cargo and Miles of Music.