We are an online community for Roots Music.
“No Depression” refers to a song written by southern gospel pioneer J.D. Vaughan called "No Depression in Heaven." The Carter Family recorded it in 1936 -- one of their few topical offerings. It was cut again by Charlie Monroe (Bill's brother and one-time singing partner) in 1948, then resurfaced, minus one verse, on a 1959 album by the New Lost City Ramblers titled Songs from the Depression. That is the version St. Louis band Uncle Tupelo made for the title track to their 1990 debut album. That, in turn, led to an online discussion board called No Depression/Alt.Country. We thought all that history made it an ideal name for a magazine that wished to cover the past, present, and future of American music.
So, in 1995, co-founders Peter Blackstock and Grant Alden launched No Depression as a quarterly print magazine covering alt-country music. (They brought in Kyla Fairchild as a co-publisher shortly thereafter.) For thirteen years, No Depression established itself as one of the most prominent and broad-ranging bimonthly music publications in the U.S., until it ceased print operations in June 2008.
While so many magazines folded entirely in the face of burgeoning online media, ND expanded its existing website after going out of print, eventually migrating into a community format in February 2009. Continuing ND’s tradition of giving voice to the roots music community, the next phase of NoDepression.com became a haven for journalists, videographers, artists, labels, PR folks, venue owners, DJs, festival promoters, podcasters, and fans from around the world. For the first five years, the ND Community had no writers or editors on staff, with all our content coming from a vibrant community of dedicated users, managed by Publisher Kyla Fairchild and Community Manager Kim Ruehl.
In July of 2009, ND made the archive of our print issues available online (thanks to the generous support of over 30 volunteers, who helped build it). The historical and fully searchable database includes close to 7200 articles – 99 percent of what appeared in the magazine -- covering over 3000 artists and bands, by hundreds of writers who contributed to No Depression in print.
Along the way, ND received Utne Reader Independent Press Awards for Arts & Literature coverage, and was cited as one of the nation's Top 20 magazines of any kind in 2004 by the Chicago Tribune. Other ventures included a No Depression Tour (Whiskeytown, Old 97's, Hazeldine, and the Picketts) in 1997; two best-of anthologies published by Dowling Press (1998) and University of Texas Press (2005); and the No Depression Radio Show, which aired on dozens of stations across the country in 2002 and 2003. In 2008, we teamed with University of Texas Press to launch a "bookazine" – a hybrid book/magazine project. The following year, we held the first No Depression Festival at Marymoor Park outside of Seattle, with the second one a year later.
Then, in time for our fifth anniversary as a web-only publication, ND was acquired by FreshGrass, which gave us the opportunity to hire an Editor and a slightly larger staff. Now, staying true to our legacy, No Depression remains a vibrant community of dedicated music fans. While most of our blogs and articles continue to be crowd-sourced, we now commission professional journalists for monthly cover stories. Americana and roots music artists are now among our frequent contributors, and the ND community has a new playground.
And, like any community, it’s only as good as all of us make it together. Invite your friends – the more, the merrier – and help us spread the word. Let us know if you have any ideas or feedback, and we’ll do what we can to help you make this the best community for indie-alt-country-roots-folk-rock-Americana on the web.