Hello Stranger from Issue #6
With no soapbox in particular upon which to climb on this late Sunday night before we ship this issue to the printer in Minneapolis on Monday morning, some scattershooting thoughts on ND #6 and our world in general:
When we decided to switch from quarterly to bimonthly, part of our thinking (after cranking two straight 96-page issues) was that if we came out more frequently, the issues might be a little bit smaller and thus be a little more manageable to deal with come deadline weekend. So much for that idea; here we are at ol’ 96 again. … However, given that the doldrums of December find the music industry largely shutting down, expect #7 (Jan.-Feb. 1997) to be a bit more modest in size. (Hey, our own folks wanna see us during the holidays too…)
You’ll notice a certain broadening of geographical parameters in our live reviews section this issue, with reviews of shows in Anchorage, Alaska; Sydney, Australia; and Oslo, Norway. (Hey, we’re big in Norway; no really.) Not to mention a letter to the editor from a reader in Slovenia. In case you’re wondering, we now have subscribers in 12 foreign countries. Haven’t cracked that noted country-music market in Madagascar yet, though…
Okay, so we got a bit carried away with the “In The Pines” bit at the start of the “Town & Country” section. It was just too tempting, especially in an issue that included a Charlie Louvin feature (given that the Louvin Brothers recorded “In The Pines” on their Tragic Songs of Life album). If you’re aware of any pine-burdened bands we overlooked, feel free to let us know (not that we’ll necessarily do anything with that information).
Speaking of the Charlie Louvin feature: One detail that didn’t make it into the article but seems worth mentioning is that there’s now a Louvin Brothers museum in the small Middle Tennessee town of Bell Buckle, about an hour outside of Nashville. It’s a humble little one-room affair, but among the memorabilia on display are gold records, album covers, old pictures and scrapbooks full of newspaper clippings about the beloved brotherly duo. Charlie and is wife, who live in the nearby town of Wartrace, run the place, so he’s often there himself to greet you. (Thanks to William Cocke of Lexington, Virginia, and the Postcard2 internet mailing list for the tip on this one, by the way.)
n.p. (that’s “now playing”, for those of you unfamiliar with AOL music message center shorthand) — The Essential Bill Monroe, 1945-1949, a two-disc box set on Columbia. It seems a fitting way to wind down these final hours of the usual Sunday-night rush, with Monroe’s plucky pickin’ and high lonesome singin’ delivering us to deadline. We were fortunate to have Andy McLenon, longtime Nashville music-biz veteran and an alternative-country champion since back when alt-country wasn’t cool, offer to write up the public funeral service held at the Ryman Auditorium for Mr. Monroe. It’s safe to say that the father of bluegrass has gone where there’s no depression…
And, finally, we were pleased to see that The New York Times Magazine, in its Oct. 27 issue, implied that No Depression is in a league with both The Bible and Golf Digest as an influence on country music. However, we deny any and all association with the likes of sweet tea, tofu & gravy, or Peter Frampton.