Music, News and What Not: The Pirate Broadside

For those of you who visit No Depression: The Journal of Roots Music website for the latest music news, reviews and columns…May 2017 marks the month that the site has hit the pause button on fresh content in order to run a subscription drive for their quarterly print journal. You can read about it here, but the deal is this: you commit to just $6 USD per month and you receive four copies of incredible music journalism each year delivered to your doorstep. And you can cancel at any time. Took me a second to punch in my numbers and take the plunge.

To give you an idea of the quality of writing you’ll be getting, No Depression has sidelined all new content this month in favor of running some of their past long form stories that originally were published in the print journal. So if you want a sampling, here’s a few complimentary stories to check out:

Songs from The Gut: A Conversation with John Prine from Holly Gleason

Sweet Freedom: Jason Isbell Has Hit His Stride by Kelly McCartney (No relation to above pirate.)

Re-Trace: Jay Farrar Looks Back on 20 Years of Son Volt from David McPherson

So there it is…my personal Public Service Announcement; a swing and a pitch to keep No Depression alive and well. Keep in mind this is a non-profit organization, and most of us who contribute do it for literally peanuts or soy beans. Money and writing are like oil and water these days, so unless you’re James Patterson or Stephen King, flipping burgers is in your future.

Enough….let’s pull something new out of the ether and take a music break. Even though No Depression is in ‘send me money mode’…there is plenty of news, music and what not. Here’s Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit performing ‘If We Were Vampires’ live in TV Studio A at KCPT in Kansas City, Missouri. This is on the new new album and it sounds great.

The 2017 Americana Music Awards‘ nominees announcement ceremony included special performances from the Milk Carton Kids, the Jerry Douglas Band, Caitlin Canty and more — but it also featured one particularly special moment: Jason Isbell and the Drive-By Truckers‘ Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley coming together for an acoustic performance.

Isbell, Hood and Cooley sing “Outfit,” originally from the Truckers’ 2003 album Decoration Day. Written by Isbell alone, the song is one of two songs that the then-24-year-old penned for the album; the other, also written solo, is the record’s title track. Earlier this year, in late January, Isbell — now, of course, a solo artist — reunited with his former bandmates during a Drive-By Truckers show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. (From

Speaking of the AMA awards, I was taken aback by the announcement of Van Morrison receiving a lifetime achievement award for songwriting. No disrespect: Van is indeed The Man, and we know that the organization loves to recognize those from the UK (Richard Thompson and Robert Plant were past recipients), but I just don’t get it. Although I know this guy probably doesn’t give a damn and wouldn’t show up anyway, I think he might be deserving of anything with the tagline ‘Americana’ in it.

The folks over at Pitchfork have published a User Guide to The Grateful Dead that focuses not on their studio work but rather the gazillion of live tracks that are out there. Which reminds me…Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter…a songwriting team that deserves acknowledgement from the Americana cabal. You know, since the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame people are often slapped around for missing folks like Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers, the AMA might be moving into their elitist territory. Sad…to quote the POTUS.

By now you’ve heard about the sad passing of Austin singer-songwriter Jimmy LaFave. Local radio station KOKE-FM published the statement from his label and family, and you can find it here. And No Depression co-founder Peter Blackstock covered LaFave’s Songwriters Rendezvous for the Austin American-Statesman, and I think it’s a beautiful piece of writing. Click here to get there. This video was recorded at SXSW in 2011. Rest in peace.

“Every day, every minute, someone in the world is singing a Pete Seeger song. The songs he wrote, including the antiwar tunes, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” “If I Had a Hammer” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and those he popularized, including “This Land Is Your Land” and “We Shall Overcome,” have been recorded by hundreds of artists in many languages and have become global anthems for people fighting for freedom.” So begins a story of Pete, and how we keep his spirit alive.

Writer Susanna Reich and illustrator Adam Gustavson have produced a book dedicated to that objective. In 38 pages of text, paintings and drawings, Stand Up and Sing! Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and the Path to Justice provides a wonderful portrait of Seeger, focusing on how his strongly-held beliefs motivated his music and his activism. The book introduces children to the notion that music can be a powerful tool for change. As Reich notes, Seeger saw himself as a link in “a chain in which music and social responsibility are intertwined.”

Read more about Pete and his music in this wonderful article posted at Common Dreams.

This year marks 50 years since Otis Redding died. He’d ignited the crowd at the Monterey Pop Festival in the summer of 1967; later that year, he and his band were en route to a show in Madison, Wisc., when their plane hit rough weather and crashed in an icy lake. Redding was 26 years old. Half a century later, Redding’s influence as a singer and spirit of soul music remains. Author Jonathan Gould, who’s written a new biography called Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life and you can read more about it here.

Guess it’s time to close the ‘pirated’ version of my Broadside column out with something that captures Mr. McCartney’s early acting career. In the meantime, while I’m officially on hiatus, please feel free to come visit me at ,  The Real Easy Ed: Roots Music and Random Thoughts which is my Facebook home where I aggregate daily, and feel free to subscribe to my Flipboard e-mag of the same name.



Thanks for the bootleg post. I find the no new content curious.  I guess running the older print stories may recruit new donors.  Prine, Isbell, and Farrar harken back to the pre-Freshgrass glory days of NoDepression.  Let me count my change and see if it adds up to $6.  

The pledge drive may interrupt ND new content  but unfortunately death did not notice and Greg Allman died during the freeze.


The website at this moment is a poor pitiful example of what 'the journal of roots music' should be. Given that they're running this promo til June 15, you'd have thought that Gregg would have waited until they got 7,000 subscribers. Same goes for Jimmy LaFave. It's sad when I have to go to Rolling Stone's website and Flipboard to get the latest news.

I remember your advice Easy Ed to the Freshgrass team. "Don't fuck it up".  It's official. They fucked it up.

Here's what  the other roots journal "Huffington Post"  is running.

This is just plain embarrassing. 


It's getting so that I'm refreshing the TMZ app to get the latest music news. 

Hopefully it is not too late to unfuck this site.

Or crawl out of the K-hole they dug?

We're all hanging onto hope. Did they fuck it up? Yeah. Sort of. But the drive is a necessity. I'm still here and so are you. Comebacks are fun. 

Right you are, Ed.

In the meantime, am going to see Gurf Morlix this evening.  A friend, Matthew Francis Andersen is opening for him.  Matthew is an adventurous soul and a good songwriter.  His first (and only, so far) record, Blue Line, is quite good. Check out his website.


Last Saturday night I was going to work the merch table at the Gurf show just north of NYC. It was the last show of the season for a local concert series and my first time seeing Gurf. The high point after a long Winter. Not to be. Mom decided to go to sleep and not awake. She was 95...and left the world peacefully. But I really wanted to hear Gurf sing Winter Wonderland. Go find it on the Tube. 

Sorry to hear about your mom, Ed.  What a wonderful thing to have your mother well into your own life.  

Well that certainly puts things in perspective Ed. Sorry for your loss.

And actually trying to stay on topic and current (sort of, Gurf and Memorial Day) listen to Sam Baker and Gurf on Sam's  "Change".

"Those same little girls go to work in those stores
Those same little boys they went away to wars
And when they came home
All the jobs gone away
Back to the places where they fought so far away"



Since you might not see this covered on No Depression, Sam Baker has a new album coming out:  Land Of Doubt on 6/21/17.


And for Manchester and beyond...


Know Sam's story well, but listening to it in the aftermath of Manchester is chilling. His music is so damn powerful...I too heard about the new album and look forward to it. Thanks for sharing. 

Ed, far be it from me to go off on a tangent unrelated to your or any other contributors theme (sorry about the Hickory Wind thing, that just needed/begged to be explored), but I hope you get the chance to see Gurf his next time through the NYC area. His show here Sunday was excellent. As was was the local opening act, Matthew Francis Anderson. Aside from reading about Gurf in recent years this really was my introduction to him.  His guitar playing is masterful, that was obvious, and a first impression of his stage demeanor gives a hint of why he's always in demand as a session player. Interesting guy.