Hello Stranger from Issue #12
By the time you’ll be reading this, the annual Wavefest concert in Charleston, S.C., sponsored by local radio station WAVF-FM will have come and gone — though as I’m writing, it’s still a few days away. Which explains, in part, our lack of coverage of the event in these pages. Sometimes the simple reality of deadlines dictates what does or doesn’t get covered in No Depression. Since we’re shipping this issue to the printer a week or so before Wavefest, and won’t get it back for two weeks…well, you see the problem.
Certainly the lineup of the all-day festival was impressive, featuring, among others, the Jayhawks, Blue Mountain, Junior Brown, Cracker, David Byrne, the Ben Folds Five, Cowboy Mouth…and a couple bands called Son Volt and Wilco. Given the name of our magazine and the history behind it, one might have expected this event would be a shoe-in for us to cover, which is why it seemed necessary to write a note explaining the circumstances.
However, there’s more than just deadlines at issue here. When we first heard that the two bands descended from Uncle Tupelo would both be at Wavefest, it certainly raised some eyebrows; after all, they hadn’t shared a bill since leaders Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy had gone their separate ways in 1994. On the other hand, recent events — specifically, a rendezvous between Farrar and Tweedy in New York City this past April sparked in part by Roger McGuinn (who sat in with both bands that night) — made such an occurrence seem less surprising.
Perhaps more importantly, enough time has passed that it just doesn’t seem like that big a deal anymore. Nowadays, it’s not that hard to see Wilco and Son Volt as two fully separate identities, perhaps overlapping just enough that you might think, “Yeah, they’d work pretty well together on the same bill” — without really needing to consider the ties of the past.
The quality of Uncle Tupelo’s catalog speaks for itself, and our magazine’s name remains a tip-of-the-hat to their debut (and to the Carter Family song and America Online message board of the same title). It seems best to view the Wavefest lineup not as a much-hyped potential reunion, but simply as a bunch of good bands sharing a bill together. Here’s hoping it was a blast.