Hello Stranger from Issue #39
Last night as I stood over the drawing table beginning the final assembly process for this issue (computers be damned, a good bit of ND is still done by hand), it was possible to hear both the hundred-lap feature at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and the fireworks at Greer Stadium, where the Nashville Sounds (a Pirates AAA affiliate) play baseball, and where Steve Earle filmed his latest video.
This morning the pile of smooth dirt in the back yard where my wife’s garden is planted showed signs of green, and as I return to the drawing table I am serenaded by lawnmowers and songbirds. And so spring announces its return.
That cycle of (re)birth has been much on our minds, especially this week, as we awaited arrival of Owen Fairchild Wilkowski, the newest addition to the home of our third (but silent only in these pages) partner, Kyla Fairchild and her wise, patient husband, Ron Wilkowski. Owen arrived with a sense of humor, combining his birthday with his name to create a launch sequence: 04-03-02…01. (Owen; get it?) Mother and child are well, thank you.
For much of the last two years Kyla has been midwifing another large project for No Depression, the birth of our syndicated radio show. The two-hour program we cleverly decided to call No Depression’s Alt-Country Radio Show will begin airing the week of April 29 and, of course, we hope a station near you will choose to carry it. (We’ll soon be posting a list of affiliates on our website.)
The show is being produced by Rob Reinhart, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, who some of you will know as the host of Acoustic Cafe (and never fear, that fine show continues), and syndicated by NBG out of Portland, Oregon. An ad on page 19 has contact information for NBG.
Meanwhile, we’d like briefly to explain what exactly prompts this rash behavior. Fundamentally, it’s the same reason we started this magazine: the music. Too much of what we write about and listen to can be heard only rarely, if at all, on commercial radio. So we’re going to try, yes, to slip through the door O Brother may (or may not) have opened. (Though we’d still be doing this if nobody bought that record, as the wheels began turning on this endeavor a good deal before the Coens’ folly hit the screen.)
We do this mindful that what makes a good magazine would not necessarily make for good radio. We do this knowing that commercial radio has far more conservative tastes than do we. And we do this knowing that trying to tailor a show for country radio (though we are, of course, delighted to have it on any format with the wit and wisdom to play it) inevitably means leaving some things out that we care deeply about.
But, y’know, if we can lure listeners from the radio to these pages, all sorts of introductions are possible. The ND radio show is not, at this point, designed for noncommercial radio, for it is our strong belief that the noncom community already does, in general, a fine job playing good music. (Indeed, several of the writers who freelance for us also have weekly shows on their local community or college stations.) Rather than preaching to the converted, our primary goal with this show is to reach listeners who haven’t heard most of this music, but might well like it if they did.
A number of people have been enormously helpful to us through this process, including Jeff Weiss and Corrie Gregory, Al Moss, Brad Hunt, and Ray Randall. The credit is theirs; the blame, as always, is ours alone. Besides, like the song says, sometimes you gotta pay the alligator.
Hope, the cliche says, springs eternal. And so the guys down at the track hope that if they keep trading paint, someday they’ll end up at Talladega. The guys over at the stadium dream of the major leagues. And we keep believing that if people hear this music, they’ll come to love it as much as we do.
— GRANT ALDEN