The Uniquely Weekly Roots Music and Random Thoughts

Image by Sandy Dyas

This month marks the seventh year that I've been a featured writer and columnist at No Depression. I began to put words into pixels at the beginning of the post-print era, when this roots music community initally came together from a group of hardcore follwers spawn from the magazine: the founders, writers, readers, musicians, labels, venues, managers, promoters, marketers, friends and neighbors. My background was from the business side of music...sales, marketing and promotion for thirty-five years with major and indie labels and distributors...but by 2009 I was in a state of post-recession forced-self-retirement. With little else to do, I began visiting this website every single day to read, learn, write and participate in the long and wild discussions that marked those early times. It was damn good therapy, and along the way I've made many friends and maintained long-distance relationships that continue to thrive. 

About two years ago I began migrating some of my earlier No Depression articles onto my own website, The Real Easy Ed. Recently I decided to launch a weekly posting of sorts, where I aggregate and update news, events, images, sound, fury, odds and ends. This is not meant to be your one-stop shop for things you can’t live without knowing. Just consider it a place to pause for a few minutes, to get out of the sun and cool down. Enjoy. 

New Music Rising

Almost two months ago RS Country reported on a new project from Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones. They wrote: ‘Little Windows, the first collaborative album from singer-songwriters Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones, packs a whole career’s worth of sparkling pop gems and sobering country ballads into a collection that runs just short of 26 minutes. What’s more remarkable, however, is that the LP represents a relatively new partnership, and every one of the songs is original to the project, although any of the album’s 10 tracks could be mistaken for some long-lost sonic nugget from the Fifties or Sixties’. Read more here.


Bars of Allman Joy

The first time I laid eyes on the Allman Brothers was inside a beer and clams bar on the boardwalk of Atlantic City on July 4th 1971. It was a way too early too early Sunday morning and residue from the previous nights activities could still be felt and smelled. I was there with a blonde haired girl named Karen who was pregnant and running away from her boyfriend Bobby. He later married my cousin, and then they broke up. I recognized Duane among the seven or eight guys who sat across the stick from us, and I recall we traded some laughs about weed and the condensation dripping down the outside of the pitchers of beer that sat before us. They were finishing up a week long run at The Steel Pier. I may have seen then that week, or not. Hard to remember, but I know I went to one of their shows sometime that year. Duane was gone by October.

Garden and Gun has published a slideshow of photos that appear in a new book by Kirk West. This is one of my favorites, and here’s the link to it and the overview: Back in the 1970s, photographer Kirk West was just a self-described “hippie with a camera” and a diehard Allman Brothers Band fan who traveled to see his favorite Southern rock group whenever he could. He became such a fixture that the band invited him backstage and to studio sessions, and in 1989, West joined the crew as an assistant tour manager. “I was only supposed to work for three weeks,” he says, “and it ended up being twenty-one years.”

Over at Oxford American, my favorite music journalist and author Amanda Petrusich…whose books you should add to your reading list asap if you somehow missed them…has published The Road Goes on Forever, a beautifully crafted article on the band. You can read it here, but if you’re super-smart you’ll also buy the OA Georgia Music Issue before it sells out. It includes their annual sampler CD that is indeed exceptional. (Read more about Amanda and her books at My Back Pages.)

Radio is a sound salvation. Radio is cleaning up the nation. Radio, Radio

Somewhere along the way, despite my early adaption of digital music files over shiny discs of plastic, I missed the podcast thing. In a recent article over at No Depression from Sloane Spencer, her recap of the past year caught my eyes.

Top-notch programs from media powerhouses and coalitions of their expatriates have brought the medium to general recognition in America. Many of the early, grassroots, or DIY programs, though, went on permanent hiatus or completely ended their runs.  A lot of this churn is normal attrition, but a lot of it is due to the success of podcasting itself. Superstars exploded from the top echelons while those bubbling up from below saw downloads stay flat or vastly decrease while streaming took over. For indie podcasts, streaming is not even monetized by the content maker, as most of it is via apps that pick up the RSS feed and redistribute thousands of programs.

As we all muddle along trying to figure out what is happening and will happen with “new media,” change is gonna come. Change is opportunity.


While I still figure out for myself if I have the time and inclination, my friend Carter recently shared with me how he finds so much (free) old-time music on the web using a couple of podcast apps. So as I was on the Smithsonian Folkways site today looking for something other than this, when I happened to discover that they have a series of 24 one-hour shows called The Folkways Collection. You could spend an entire day listening to this.


On Roy Zimmerman, Donald Drumpf, Kylie Jenner, Louis C.K. and the kitchen sink. 

Every other week my Easy Ed’s Broadside column is published on the No Depression website, and my most recent one is a meandering walk through the current state of how comedians and hashtags have usurped the sixties protest music movement that used to ‘spread the word’ back in the day. Actually, I contradicted that thought when I noted the last song ever written that galvanized a generation to actually do something was Ray Steven’s “The Streak”. Anyway…you can read the article here and I’m putting up one of Roy’s videos for your amusement and joy.


Every Picture Tells a Story

The image at the top of this page was shot by my long-time-we’ve-only-met-online friend Sandy Dyas, who is a visual artist based in Iowa City that I’ve written about often. You can visit her website here and check out her work, books and blog. And more of her images can be seen on this site too.

Videos You Wouldn’t Know Existed, Unless You Found Them By Mistake.


A List of Performers at SXSW 2016 That I Found.

Happened to notice this on Untitled Magazine‘s site, and it just seemed such a strong image of randomness, not that I didn’t immediately recognize that it was simply arranged alphabetical list of bands. I choose to think that simply staring at the letters is particularly intellectually satisfying if you’re not planning to take the trip to Austin. And I’m not.

3ballMty, Abjects, Barry Adamson, Adée, Alex G, Alice on the roof, Aloa Input, Altimet & the Kawan Band, Anamanaguchi, And The Kids, Autobahn, Avec Sans,The Ballroom Thieves, The Band of Heathens, Bee’s Knees, Better Person, Beverly, Big Phony,Bird Dog, Bombino,Boulevards,Brass Bed, Bye Bye Badman, Laura Carbone,Rosie Carney, Caveman, Ceasetone, Chirkutt, Cirkus Funk, Cóndor Jet, The Crookes, Crystal Castles, Dash Rip Rock, David Wax Museum, Demob Happy, Dolce,Downtown Boys, Dubioza Kolektiv, Eau Rouge, EMUFUCKA, Expert Alterations, Lena Fayre, Fear of Men, Few Bits, Ian Fisher, The Foreign Resort, Andy Frasco & the U.N., A Giant Dog, Matt Gilmour’s Patient Wolf, Gold Class, Jon Dee Graham, William Harries Graham & the Painted Redstarts, Guerilla Toss, HÆLOS, Haihm, Har Mar Superstar, Hinds, Howardian,S ilvana Imam, Imran Aziz Mian Qawwal, Into It. Over it., Jahkoy, Jambinai, John GRVY, Judah & the Lion, KAO=S, Marina Kaye, The Kickback, La Banda Morisca, Lazyeyes, Lois, Demi Louise, Love X Stereo, Lushes, Mai Nimani, Mamamoo, MC Lars, Methyl Ethel, Mise en Scene, Missi & Mister Baker, Moving Panoramas, Mumiy Troll, The National Parks, Oil Boom, OKRAA, Paul Oscher, Overload, The Parrots, PHASES, Platonick Dive, The Pocket Rockets, Ron Pope, Prince Rama, Pure Bathing Culture, Quebe Sisters, Self Defense Family,S kyline, Sleepers’ Reign, Southern Hospitality, The Spook School, Suboi, Summer Heart, Sunflower Bean, Sur du monde, Tarmac, The Nightowls, Throwing Shade, Vaadat Charigim, Victim Mentality, Victoria+Jean, Waco Brothers, Wahid Allan Faqir, The Wet Secrets, Wildhoney, Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders, Womps, Wordburglar, XYLØ, Yuck

I should note the passing of the SXSW music festival co-counder Louis Meyers who was part of the original team that started this back in 1987. He left it in 1994 citing the stress of the conference. Meyers was also a musician, playing banjo and recording, touring, producing or performing with Bill & Bonnie Hearne, Bob Schneider, Killbilly, The Killer Bees, Mojo Nixon, Fastball, Willis Alan Ramsey, Tommy Ramone, and Jello Biafra, among many others.

And In The End…A Song I Love That Sir George Martin Produced. RIP.



You can follow me here at No Depression to get notified when I've added something new. Many of my past columns, articles and essays can be accessed at I also aggregate and post daily on my Twitter feed:@therealeasyed and Facebook page:The Real Easy Ed: Roots Music and Random Thoughts.

This is a cross-post from The Real Easy Ed: Roots Music and Random Thoughts. 




Like the photo- Horsefalls Variety Lansing IA.... and the post.

I've been to Lansing IA a few times for houseboat trips,  and to Horsefalls Variety, but didn't recognize it from the picture, thanks for pointing it out, Dan.  Great shop to meander through in a fine old Mississippi River town the developers haven't discovered.

Nice, meandering stroll, Ed.  Good to see Jon Dee Graham's sons name among the SXSW list you included. I'd enjoy seeing his show, his dad is something else and I wonder how far the apple fell. 

Glad you guys found this post...need a magnifying glass to find a lot of the stuff on No Dep at this point. Even my EOW column that they actually pay me for is a 'now you see it now you don't' proposition, so I rely more on my own site and Facebook page to reach folks. But I won't go on crying about the old days; it was a great vibrant community for several years and there's still some great writing here as well as a print mag. Keep on keepin' on...


There must be a loophole somewhere, this isn't under Stories or Columns that I can see.  If you do a search for whatever topic, some of the results are under "Articles", which is no longer a section on the main page, suspect that's possibly related to why this piece is below the radar. Not a complaint, just an observation.  Because I "follow" you I received an email alert that this was posted. Or maybe it was an email alert of Dan's comment. Or both.

Your comment about great writing prompts me to mention Matt Powell's current piece under Stories about Stringbean Akeman. Have long thought Matt to be among the best pure writers and story tellers on this site, if you haven't seen the current piece, look for it.  And check out his past work, he did a piece a few years ago about Glenn Campbell and another about Porter Wagoner that were beyond excellent. 

Were those by chance fried clams with Duane Allman?

Steamers in a pail with drawn butter. First thing you need at dawn on the boardwalk. Matt's Stringbean story was sent out on my Facebook feed after I read it. He does great work. As far as this post, the only place anyone can find it is if they click on Stories, and then click All Stories (which is in a light grayed-out text link) and scroll down the page. As it's just a cross-post from my own I have no expectations that Kim would or should put it somewhere people will actually find it. I know the rules.  It's the nature of a site that is more a depository or placeholder for bloggers, as well as a promotional vehicle for a magazine and festival, than that thriving music community Chris spoke of when he bought the site from Kyla. Probably my only disappointment might be that with Kim a one-woman show for the most part editorially speaking, there's little effort in design or development from the rest of the team. Not surprising given the past animosity when long time community members offered up their suggestions and thoughts only to have them shot down and stomped on. Sorry. Old wounds. Ok....I'm home sick and on awful this rant is brought to you by the pharmaceutical industry. Going to watch me some Stringbean videos. Peace out. 

We lived in Cherry Hill NJ '64-'69, weekend drives to Atlantic City, Steel Pier, Ocean City, LBI, Wildwood, were frequent during summer. Big treat was a long weekend at Haddon Hall in Atlantic City with my grandmother when I was 8.  Wasn't the diving horse at Steel Pier? Who thought that one up, have a horse jump off a low platform into a pool.  And I remember a round steel wire cage inside which 3 guys rode motor bikes simultaneously 360 degrees in every direction and never crashed into each other, not that I saw.