Tuesday, September 22, 2015
No Depression magazine, the authority in roots music, is back in print after a seven year hiatus during which time they built up an online presence that is second to none. The good news is that the new print edition is Gob Smack gorgeous. When my copy arrived yesterday in the mail I thought this must be some kind of mistake because I received a book. At a time when my other magazine subscriptions have become so thin and the content mostly advertisements, the quality and depth of No Depression's first quarterly edition is truly impressive.
Packed with beautiful photography with quirky subjects such as rarely seen by the general public green rooms of famous venues. My personal favorite photo in the new edition was taken by Sandy Dyas and caption by Kim Ruehl, and is a subject that I am intimately familiar with. It is a picture of the Motley Motel in Motely, MN which I have driven by countless of times on my way to visit my former receptionist Bernice's family farm just outside of Motley or on my way to see Coach in Nimrod.
The good news is that the original community editor, Kim Ruehl, is now the editor in chief and has done an admirable job to date in making the transition. The sad news is the departure of long time publisher Kyla Fairchild, who along with co-founder editors Peter Blackstock and Grant Alden put No Depression on the music world's map. Kyla was truly a gem and will be sorely missed.
The magazine new stable of writers include Terry Roland who has a great article on Robert Earl Keen in the Fall 2015 edition. Roland has impecable taste and his articles are always worth the read.
My only concern going forward is that No Depression will loose some of its alternative or progressive roots as it seems to be heading for more of a mainstream bluegrass and traditional country focus, possibly due to the fact that the publisher is now Fresh Grass the longtime online bluegrass publisher. Let's hope that this isn't the case. After all, it was No Depression's early focus on artists like Wilco and Alejandro Escovedo, who early on it named its artist of the decade, that gave No Depression its cred and readership among music heads.
All in all the return of No Depression is a triumph for all concerned but especially for the music listening public.