Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Accordion As the National Instrument of Texas

The story's in the new No Depression bookazine, published by University of Texas Press and available at better bookstores, mag racks, and record shops nationally.

For most of its thirteen-year history as a print magazine, No Depression sought to be an instrument of change: to draw attention to the deep well of American musical traditions; to shine a light on performers whose gifts far exceed the size of their audiences or their pocketbooks; to provide a safe harbor for the best long-form writing about music on the newsstand.

These traditions continue through No Depression's twice-annual bookazine, a joint venture with University of Texas Press. ND #77, due out the spring of 2009, centers around the phrase "instruments of change," and the various ways in which those words may be interpreted: from actual musical instruments (a tale about the personal history Dock Boggs' banjo, an overview of Texas accordion culture) to renowned instrumentalists (profiles of virtuoso mandolinist Chris Thile and A-Team bassist Bob Moore) to artists who played instrumental roles in changing music (country-rock pioneer Chris Hillman, country-punk innovators Jason & the Nashville Scorchers).

As with ND #76 (which kicked off the series in the fall of 2008), the new bookazine – edited by ND co-founders Grant Alden and Peter Blackstock – also includes a photo essay (this one a series of shots from Santa Monica's Fabled guitar store/music venue McCabe's), and an appendix featuring reviews of some of the higher-profile roots-oriented records of recent months.

Here's the full Table of Contents for ND #77:

• Dock Boggs' Banjo (by Jesse Fox Mayshark)

• The Voices of Como Now (by Edd Hurt)

• The Accordions of Texas (by Joe Nick Patoski)

• Bob Moore's Bass (by Rich Kienzle)

• The Words of Bob Martin (by Bill Friskics-Warren)

• Photographs from McCabe's (by Roman Cho)

• Chris Thile's Mandolin (by Seth Mnookin)

• Chris Hillman's Country-Rock (by Barry Mazor)

• Jason & the Nashville Scorchers' Country-Punk (by Don McLeese)

• Jeffrey Hatcher's Songs Of Healing (by Paul Cantin)

. The Words of Phil Ochs (by Kenneth J. Bernstein)

• Appendix: Reviews of albums by Buddy & Julie Miller, Neko Case, Madeleine Peyroux, David Byrne & Brian Eno, and Bruce Robison, plus a Doug Sahm tribute disc.

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