Hello Stranger from Issue #30
Change is in the air.
In early September we gathered in Seattle to celebrate our fifth anniversary, hearing good tunes and toasting good times and remembering all it has taken to get where we are (wherever that is).
Then it was off to our next adventure, which for Grant and me means packing everything up and changing addresses. It’s a shorter haul for Grant, who’s just moving across town in Nashville, but those of y’all who send him stuff will want to note his new info in the staff box at the left.
While you’re at it, update my listing in your database as well. It’s a major relocation for me — about 2,800 miles, from the Northwest to the Southeast.
The reasons are manyfold, but mostly it just comes down to a feeling that it was time to change the playing field — much as it was nine years ago, when I put Austin in my rearview mirror and set out for Seattle.
As was the case then, I’m leaving a world full of places and people I’ll miss dearly. The difference between my life when I arrived in Seattle and what it has become today is immeasurable, and there are far too many folks responsible for that to mention.
The bottom line is that I don’t think I realized what I was capable of doing until I made the move. Certainly this magazine would not exist had it not been for the influence of that independent Northwest spirit, the belief that you can do those things which seem daunting or out-of-reach.
Taking No Depression along to North Carolina is a gift, one that I don’t take for granted, and indeed one that makes such a relocation possible. My new digs in Durham will simply become another crossroads in the countrywide circuit that has shaped our operations for a good while now, with Grant having been in Nashville three years. Furthermore, a large part of No Depression will remain in Seattle, as our partner Kyla and invaluable employees Mary and Tom continue to run the business end of the magazine from there.
Recently I was able to realize one more life-affirming dream that sprang from my days in Seattle. On October 10, East Coast independent label Appleseed Recordings released Frisco Mabel Joy Revisited: For Mickey Newbury, a compilation album I co-produced with Chris Eckman of Seattle band the Walkabouts. Over the past year it blossomed from a far-fetched scheme into a real record, a re-creation of Newbury’s classic 1971 album Frisco Mabel Joy, track-by-track. The players who participated, about five dozen altogether, created a musical document that means the world to me, and I am eternally grateful to all of them.
Across the continent in my new home base, one of our contributing editors was experiencing a similar realization of a longtime personal project. David Menconi’s first novel, Off The Record (available via his website, www.offtherecordbook.com), chronicles the behind-the-scenes action in the life of a fictional rock band, but the experiences and characters may seem eerily familiar for those who have been close enough to the belly of the beast. David and I go back more than a dozen years and his presence in Raleigh is like a grounding anchor for my relocation, so it seems fitting that we’re simultaneously celebrating the completion of these personal projects.
In addition to David, the Triangle is rife with folks who’ve already made me feel welcome, even before the relocation has reached its conclusion. Most of those I’ve met in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill are connected in some way to the region’s extraordinary music community, which is obviously a major factor in drawing me there. I do sometimes get the feeling that the Triangle today is like the Austin in which I came of age — small enough to be an easy, low-key place to live, yet artistically vibrant enough to inspire me on a regular basis.
Back in Seattle, the sun is setting over the Sunset and Tractor Taverns on Ballard Avenue, over Puget Sound and the ferryboats motoring to the islands, over the Olympic mountains silhouetted in the Western sky. It’s been an unforgettable nine years, sheltered beneath the sentinel that is Mount Rainier.
But I hear Carolina calling.