Field Reportings from Issue #43
HAPPY LOVING COUPLES: The big news in alt-country circles in recent weeks, at least social circles, is the November 21 marriage of renowned singer-songwriters Iris DeMent and Greg Brown in DeMent’s hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. Though their relationship had been kept out of the public eye previous to the announcement, Brown had recently been singing DeMent’s song “When My Morning Comes Around” at his shows. The couple plans to split their time between DeMent’s home in Kansas City and Brown’s home in rural Iowa. No word yet, however, on a new record from DeMent, who’s been absent from the racks for nearly seven years now (her last album was 1996’s Wasteland Of The Free)….
The Dixie Chicks’ Emily Robison and her country singer-songwriter husband Charlie Robison became parents of Charles Augustus Robison on November 11….
Meanwhile, Charlie’s songwriting brother Bruce Robison and his wife, country singer Kelly Willis, are expecting twins in April. The couple’s first child was born in 2001.
WAYLON & WILLIE AND THE BOYS: RCA plans an early 2003 release for a Waylon Jennings tribute album under the guidance of executive producer Hazel Smith, the journalist credited with coining the phrase “Outlaw Country”. The album reportedly will include participants from a broad variety of genres, including Metallica’s James Hetfield, who recorded “Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got Out Of Hand” for the project….
Willie Nelson and Ray Price have recorded an album together that should be released sometime in 2003, though a date and label have yet to be confirmed. Nelson played briefly in Price’s band when both artists were just starting out, and Nelson appeared on Price’s 1962 album San Antonio Rose.
I SHALL BE RELEASED: The Minus 5 album Down With Wilco, Scott McCaughey’s collaborative album with Jeff Tweedy and his band, has found a home in the wake of the demise of Mammoth Records (which had been the Minus 5’s label). The record is now due out on February 25 on Yep Roc Records….
Also tentatively set on Yep Roc for the first half of 2003 are the sophomore efforts of fellow North Carolinians Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell, both produced again by Chris Stamey….
The new Dwight Yoakam box set Reprise Please Baby: The Warner Bros. Years marks the end of his 16-year relationship with the label. Yoakam is aligning his own label, Electrodisc, in partnership with Nashville’s Audium Records. A new album is expected sometime in the spring….
Wanda Jackson was set to record a live album in New York City in December; no word yet on a release date or label….
Lost Highway has a tentative April 8 release date for Lucinda Williams’ next album, has penciled in a May release for the next Drive-By Truckers’ follow-up to Southern Rock Opera, and have a new Jayhawks album slated for the first half of the year. Oh, yeah. And Ryan Adams is recording something, somewhere.
I SHALL BE REISSUED: Sony/Legacy has set a March 11 release date for reissues of the three albums Uncle Tupelo recorded for Rockville in the early 1990s: No Depression, Still Feel Gone and March 16-20, 1992. This follows last year’s Anthology 89/93 disc, which collected a few tracks from each of those records plus their swan-song Anodyne and various odds and ends….
Volume 5 of the ongoing Bob Dylan Bootleg Series has just been released, but plans are already in the works for the next one. Volume 6, to be released sometime in 2003, captures a solo acoustic performance at New York’s Philharmonic Hall on October 31, 1964….
A Lyle Lovett collection of movie soundtrack songs and other bits and pieces titled Smile is scheduled for a late February release. Lovett is also reportedly working on his first album of new original material since 1996’s The Road To Ensenada….
Sierra Records has just released an interview with Gram Parsons on CD. Titled Big Mouth Blues: A Conversation With Gram Parsons, it documents a 1972 discussion between Parsons and the late Chuck Casell.
CAMERA READY: Texas songwriting great Billy Joe Shaver will have a speaking role in Secondhand Lions, a New Line Cinema film starring Robert Duvall and Michael Caine being filmed in Austin. Shaver previously appeared with Duvall in The Apostle. Duvall’s longtime girlfriend, Luciana Pedraza, is working on a Shaver documentary….
Documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler is reportedly directing an indie film about Ryan Adams. Cutler’s last feature documentary was 1996’s A Perfect Candidate; he’s also currently working on a reality series for the cable network FX called “American Candidate”.
KUDOS: Singer-songwriter Kasey Chambers won three categories at the ARIA Music Awards, Australia’s equivalent of the Grammys, in late October. Chambers was named Female Artist of the Year (over nominees including Kylie Minogue and Natalie Imbruglia), while her latest disc Barricades And Brickwalls received Album of the Year and Country Release of the Year honors. Chambers returns to the United States for a month-long string of dates beginning January 31 in Seattle and concluding March 1 in Boston….
The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences will honor the late Alan Lomax with a Trustees Award in a ceremony on February 22 in New York City, held in conjunction with the following night’s Grammy Awards show in Los Angeles.
ALL THE FIXINS: Thanks to Anne Smith in London for filling in the blanks about a photo of Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell on page 78 of ND #41 [Sept.-Oct. 2002]. The shot was taken by Art Fein at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Los Angeles in 1976….
An article on Johnny Gimble in ND #42 [Nov.-Dec. 2002] incorrectly identified the radio show “A Prairie Home Companion” as being affiliated with National Public Radio. The show is produced by Prairie Home Productions, presented by Minnesota Public Radio, and distributed by Public Radio International.
NO BCS NECESSARY: Airing on the final weekend of 2002, the No Depression Alt-Country Radio Show’s ND Top 20 of 2002 countdown show surveyed the year’s best alt-country records as determined by a fourteen-member panel of voters: co-editors Grant Alden and Peter Blackstock; contributing editors David Cantwell, Bill Friskics-Warren, Geoffrey Himes, Roy Kasten, Barry Mazor, Don McLeese, David Menconi, Linda Ray, Allison Stewart, Jon Weisberger and Kurt Wolff; and radio show host Rob Reinhart. Here’s how they ranked:
1. Buddy Miller, Midnight And Lonesome
2. Mike Ireland & Holler, Try Again
3. Caitlin Cary, While You Weren’t Looking
4. Dixie Chicks, Home
5. Bobby Bare Jr., Young Criminals Starvation League
6. Kelly Willis, Easy
7. Guy Clark, The Dark
8. Flatlanders, Now Again
9. Steve Earle, Jerusalem
10. Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
11. Lonesome Bob, Things Change
12. Dolly Parton, Halos And Horns
13. Patty Griffin, 1000 Kisses
14. Norah Jones, Come Away With Me
15. Mary Gauthier, Filth And Fire
16. Bruce Springsteen, The Rising
17. Tift Merritt, Bramble Rose
18. Ray Price, Time
19. Solomon Burke, Don’t Give Up On Me
20. Elizabeth Cook, Hey Y’all