No Depression Is Dead, Long Live No Depression

No Depression magazine, the bible of alt/roots/country/Americana music and lifestyle for thirteen years is making a comeback of sorts. Nodpression.com will be relaunched in late September and will be edited by the magazine’s founding co-editor Peter Blackstock and will include regular blogs by many of the magazine’s most frequent contributors, including Blackstock and fellow founding co-editor Grant Alden.

The new site will also include record reviews and live reviews, features on emerging artists, news updates, the current web site’s popular upcoming-releases list, reader-participant discussion forums — and, perhaps most significantly, a vast and cross-referenced archive featuring almost all the content from No Depression magazine’s 75 issues published from 1995 to 2008.

In preparation for the September relaunch, the website is promoting the No Depression Founders Circle, a way for fans and supporters of the magazine to take a financial stake in the new web site’s continued existence. I think this is a good move that I wish had been taken back before the magazine folded. I for one would have paid for the coverage ND provided that I could not find gathered between a set of magazine covers.

In my opinion ND lost their way when the publishers started to think about their audience as a demographic instead of a congregation of sorts. They went from having John Prine and Johnny Cash on thre cover to featuring the then alt.rock flavor of the month The Shins. Like a politician, they attempted to move to the mainstream, toward popularity with the mainstream and their pocketbooks, at the riisk of alietnating thier hard-core and reverent followers. Someone should have told them that a vast majority of Americans distrust politicians and lawyers for just this very reason, they appear to stand for nothing but whatever will help them win at the moment. That is almost exactly the definition of shiftless. The congirigation lost faith after that and hard times became even harder.

As an added incentive for getting eyeballs, folks who sign up for the website’s mailing list at NoDepression.com will be eligible to win an Epiphone DR-100 Vintage Sunburst acoustic guitar which has been provided by Epiphone. Great email bait! I singed up this morning!

Also a new No Depression “bookazine” (to be designated No Depression #76) also will be available in print-form on the shelves of bookstores nationwide in October. The publication, a joint venture between ND and the University of Texas Press, will be issued twice annually (every fall and spring). Blackstock and Alden will serve as co-editors, with Alden also reprising his magazine role as art director. A handful of book-release events at bookstores and record stores nationwide are also in the works. I appuad this effort and look forward to it, at the same time I wonder why something like this couldn’t have been applied to the magazine in it’s former incarnation.

All of this is no surprise for anyone that read the publishers online adios to the magazine: “Plans to expand the publication’s website (www.nodepression.net) with additional content will move forward, though it will in no way replace the print edition.” Why Grant and Peter weren’t doing this in conjunction with the print version of ND all along is a mystery to me, but I say better late than never. Get over there, sign up for their emails and send them cash. The world that I cover and we all love is a better place with them in it.


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