Earlier in the week I read the sad news that alt.country bible No Depression is joining Porter Wagoner on the front porch in the sky. The May-June edition will be their last - meaning I'll read my final copy exactly nine years after I bought my first.
Although the magazine's readership is pretty strong for a niche mag, the downturn in the record industry means that No Depression isn't getting the advertising revenue it needs to survive. Publishers Grant Alden, Peter Blackstock and Kyla Fairchild explain further in this letter on the No Depression website.
For fans of steel guitars and men who own entire wardrobes of plaid shirts No Depression was gold - an old-school magazine that always felt like a labour of love for its creators to which its readers responded with equal passion.
I've discovered dozens of bands through its pages and the magazine's always been a welcome signpost, not just to the USA's more interesting musical corners, but other odd bits of Americana too. That first issue I read contained an article on an intriguing documentary called Hands On A Hard Body about a 'touch the truck' contest in Texas. I found a VHS copy of the film a while later and it's become one of my favourite docs of all time. The trailer doesn't do the film justice, but it certainly gives a flavour:
I'd been planning for a while to make a regular blog feature of bands I'd never heard of but that I'd read about in each new issue of No Depression. Maybe I'll start ploughing through my back issues.
MP3: Uncle Tupelo - No Depression