The Spring 2017 issue of No Depression, “Heartland,” explores the stories and music that thumps, picks, and breathes between the coasts. While mainstream music critics focus on cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville to learn about rising stars and buzzworthy music, artists in cities like Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Omaha, and Iowa City are making some of the purest, most honest roots music around. What’s more, artists from the coasts are increasingly touring the heartland — and some are even moving there — to find inspiration in the region’s big skies, honest people, and rich musical legacies.
In the fall of 1995, No Depression began its run as a quarterly print magazine dedicated to the burgeoning alt-country movement. By the time it went out of print in 2008, it was a bimonthly glossy that had traced the evolution and growth of American roots music over the course of more than a decade. Artists who graced its cover were as variant as Whiskeytown and Allen Toussaint, Ralph Stanley and the Shins, Alison Krauss and Elvis Costello, but the one thing they all had in common was an allegiance to the roots of music that was truly American. These days, that's widely considered Americana, but for the duration of ND's original print run, it was more frequently called "No Depression music."