No Depression? How About No Excuses?
Americana – Is This Genre, Growing, Doomed or What?
Angie Marie Santiago – “Just a Roots Super Fan”
I don’t understand it. I have attended or read about loyal audience attendance at the various roots festivals such as ACL, SXSW, New Port, and Bonaroo including ours here in Central North Carolina – Shakori Hills, Eno, and Merlefest. I understand the numbers fluctuate from year to year and by event, but my roots brethren claim to be adamant fans and supporters. So why is it that No Depression, an award winning magazine cannot stay afloat? I certainly don’t want to assume their business operations were to blame. I’m no publisher after all. I’m just a super fan. Wait a minute. I AM the reason this genre exists! So I will not under estimate my own role in this thing called Americana because I am doing my part.
I am the one that has been known to schedule work clients in such a way that would allow me to partake of their local music scene while on assignment in their region. I am that one that has scoured relevant independent magazines, newspapers, and web sites for the past seven years in search of roots based artists that I can check out. I am the one that has discovered a worldwide network of fellow roots fans that send me links and reviews of OUR music from their points of view. My personal CD collection has more Americana – ish / Blues artists that I have met along the way in small town USA. I rarely download singles and support artists by purchasing their full CD projects. I lecture my music pirating friends against copying and distributing CDs among each other. I read the liner notes and research the studio or touring musicians they credit. Is it me? Am I a freak?
I don’t think so. I have met super fans like myself who express their dedication to Roots in various ways. I correspond with a fellow Roots fan in Paris (France not Texas) who has an incredible website dedicated to our music. I met a retired attorney who must have every article of No Depression committed to memory and an avid music and film collector as well as an incredible Roots resource. I have been a secret admirer of my hero Marianne Taylor, a local Roots promoter whose passion of bringing Roots to this complacent Triangle audience comes with personal and financial challenges. I attended and have hosted house concerts utilizing Fran Snyder’s CIYH network that offers a cost effective way to expand the audience of our Americana troubadours. As I write this, two Merlefest buddies are in Scotland taking in the folk scene and Chatham County Line is playing to packed venues in Norway. Norway for goodness sakes!
So WTH? I gave up the f word in 2009. It just doesn’t have the same “Pow” as WTF. Sigh.
Thanks to global music ambassadors like the Stones, Beatles, Bono, and others, Europe has had a long standing loyal relationship with our roots based music offerings. Here in the US Harry Smith, Berkeley ethnomusicologist extraordinaire dedicated his life to collecting and documenting our heritage through regional music. I even begrudgingly should give a shout out to Pete Seeger whose video documentaries of lost backwoods blues and folk artists like Elizabeth Cotten and Son House are among my most treasured collections. I say begrudgingly because while the interviews and the appearances on his show may have stirred American audiences, it did little to protect the intellectual property and royalty monies due these artists. I am unsure of Seeger’s motives at the time but I feel his interviews were a bit pretentious and may have led to the continued exploitation those artists less savvy. “Look who I discovered while cleaning my house or shining my shoes!” Regardless of Seeger’s intentions, the resulting rare footage is not to be discounted.
Vintage and Acoustic Guitar, Paste Magazine, No Depression, NPR Music, and my local independently published weekly newspaper, The Independent Weekly, MySpace, and most recently, Facebook, have been my trusted resources for arts, blues, folk music, social justice and local happenings.
Now being a prudent manager of my personal and business finances, I will no longer travel all over the US to attend these great music events. No Depression is my lifeline to the multi-regional Americana music happenings in Texas, Pittsburgh, California, and Canada. They are now in need of a bail out and folks, it’s in your hands.
While they reorganize, streamline, and reinvent themselves, they need our contributions to keep the community site going. It’s just a donation. Come on you guys. Let’s run some numbers:
1. $150 for those 10 CDs you burned
2. $100 if you sent a virtual gift to someone on Facebook
3. $50 for those festival volunteers that showed up to the event but not their assignments
4. $25 for weekly latte drinkers
5. $25 if you are a PBR drinker. You have saved a lot of $$$!
6. $25 for one bottle of merlot
7. $25 for two martinis or 3 single match scotches at your favorite watering hole
8. $50 for meaning to vote but didn’t
9. $25 for your good intentions and lack of follow through
10. Rather than No Depression, How about No Excuses? Donate today!