Live Review

Joe Henry - 400 Bar (Minneapolis, MN)

Joe Henry on January 18, 1997

Sitting alone onstage after he and a couple friends took a rich-and-ragged run through his own impressive body of work, Joe Henry decided to reach for some stardust when called out for an encore by a capacity crowd at the West Bank's 400 Bar.

Live Review

Jeff Tweedy With Bob Egan - Lounge Ax (Chicago, IL)

Jeff Tweedy With Bob Egan on January 11, 1997

"I'm sorry; I thought we played too long. I thought we played bad, and we sang bad, and I'm really sorry you didn't have a good time." Jeff Tweedy was doing his best to loosen the grip of wall-to-wall fans after his second encore and a little over two hours onstage. It wasn't easy, for him or for the fans. For two hours a chorus numbering two-thirds of the house had joined him for the better part of every song as the evening careened from muscle pop to kinderlieder, from the Beatles and Big Star to echoes of Muddy Waters.

Live Review

Johnny Paycheck - FitzGerald's (Berwyn, IL)

Johnny Paycheck on January 18, 1997

From the moment he walked onstage, it was obvious Johnny Paycheck wasn't feeling well. The veteran performer was short of breath, and he kept lifting his guitar off his chest, looking heavenward, inhaling air before singing a verse. After opening with the hits "I'm the Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised)" and "A-11", Paycheck explained, "My asthma's acting up real bad, but I don't give a damn....Sometimes it locks down on me, but I'll handle it." Paycheck struggled throughout the set, repeatedly using an inhaler to aid his breathing.

Live Review

BR5-49 - Johnny D's (Boston, MA)

BR5-49 on January 19, 1997

I always jokingly refer to Boston as the alternative-country capital of the United States. You see, we don't have much of that hip twang up here. We've got a lot of alternative rock, hardcore, folk (boy, do we have folk -- yawn), and even some good bluegrass. What we don't have is the grange. The insurgent country. All you really need to do, in fact, is drive two hours west to Northampton, and you'll find the exact opposite: alterna-country all over the damn place.

Live Review

Buddy Holly Tribute - Surf Ballroom (Clear Lake, IA)

Various Artists on January 31, 1997

I bought my first drum set at a pawn shop in Lubbock, Texas. Answering an ad looking for a drummer, I soon met Paul Waters, a young man who bore a striking and deliberate resemblance to Buddy Holly. He came to my door lugging a Stratocaster and a scrapbook filled with pictures of him onstage in the full Holly regalia: suit, ascot, and those bookish glasses. There were also shots of him leaning over Buddy Holly's grave with what I swear were tears in his eyes. We eventually formed a band and played Holly songs around the clubs and barbecue joints of Lubbock.

Live Review

A Tribute To Townes Van Zandt - Cactus Cafe (Austin, TX)

Various Artists on January 22, 1997

"HOUSEBOAT IN HEAVEN" Townes Van Zandt played the Cactus Cafe in Austin, Texas, for the last time on Saturday, October 13, 1996. He died on January 1, 1997, the anniversary of the death of Hank Williams, one of his true heroes. During the radio tribute I did to Townes the next evening, the manager of the Cactus, Griff Luneberg, called and said that Townes was booked to play on January 22 & 23, and that those dates would be made a tribute to him, with his fans and friends invited to perform. The list of confirmed guests for the "Houseboat In Heaven" tribute was impressive.

Live Review

Vigilantes Of Love - Mercury Lounge (New York City, NY)

Vigilantes Of Love on November 17, 1996

Framed against a backdrop of heavy steel duct work and red brick and mortar that recalled their late, great hometown club the Flying Buffalo, the Athens, Ga. trio Vigilantes of Love seemed eerily at home at the New York date of a monthlong tour. Frontman Bill Mallonee opened the show with a pair of solo acoustic numbers: "Parting Shot", from 1995's Blister Soul, and an old "new" song, "Judas Skin", which both challenged the audience to pay attention and invited them into the Vigilantes' brand of folk-based rock 'n' roll.

Live Review

Always...Patsy Cline - Barber Theatre (Evanston, IL)

Patsy Cline on December 4, 1996

Louise Seger would scrimp on groceries for a month to be able to don her red cowboy boots and yellow fringed skirt and go see the Northlight Theatre's Chicago production of "Always...Patsy Cline". Seger became Cline's most famous fan with the 1981 publication of Ellis Nassour's biography Patsy Cline, reissued in 1993 as Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline. Nassour gives Seger only a handful of pages, mostly setting up the singer's letters to her as first-person accounts.

Live Review

Amy Rigby / Jim Lauderdale - Southgate House (Newport, KY)

Jim Lauderdale on November 6, 1996

Alternative-country artists visit the Cincinnati area all too rarely, so it was a real treat to catch a double bill featuring these two talented songwriters, who have turned out heartfelt and original country gems that shine without the need of Nashville's glare. Amy Rigby opened the show with her folksy brand of familiar and comfortable songs dealing with familiar, everyday occurrences and situations that cause listeners to say, "Yep, been there, done that". Rigby's day job as a temporary office worker provided the grist for many of the songs.

Live Review

Marlee MacLeod - Abbey Pub (Chicago, IL)

Marlee MacLeod on December 14, 1996

When No Depression last visited with Marlee MacLeod back in the second issue, she spoke of "playing for six to 10 people a night" and "converting the nation three people at a time." She was still at it on this Saturday night gig at the Abbey Pub, a neighborhood tavern in a very untrendy neighborhood on the Northwest side of Chicago.