Live Review

Austin Country Showcase - KRLU Studios Austin City Limits Taping (Austin, TX)

Various Artists on October 2, 1996

It was only appropriate. On the same the Country Music Association was holding its awards show in Nashville and on network TV, extravagantly celebrating the blandness of mainstream country, the folks at Austin City Limits saw fit to honor their city's booming country music scene. This taping (which will air sometime in early '97) was an unusual event for the nationally broadcast public TV show, which itself veered a bit too far toward play-it-safe mainstream options during its most recent season.

Live Review

Alison Krauss & Union Station - The Backyard (Austin, TX)

Alison Krauss & Union Station on October 6, 1996

Maybe it's the harmonies. Maybe it's the seemingly effortless picking by some of the best players in country music. Maybe it's the beautiful high soprano, or maybe it's the excellent repertoire. Maybe it's all that and more. Alison Krauss & Union Station kicked off this show in high speed with a couple of rousing bluegrass standards, then proceeded to launch directly into "Now That I've Found You", the title track from the collection of songs that earned her a ton of country music honors and a couple million in record sales last year.

Live Review

Hank Williams Birthday Party - The Sutler (Nashville, TN)

Hank Williams on September 17, 1996

A special edition of the Western Beat Barndance, a weekly event in Nashville, this event coincided with what would've been Hank Williams' 73rd birthday. Jett Williams, Hank's daughter, kicked off the proceedings by singing "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", followed by Bill McCrory of Pirates of the Mississippi rendering "Honky Tonk Blues" and Paul Burch, Jr. singing "Log Train". The regular Barndance house band, which backed up many of the performers during the show, then left the stage to make room for Jason Petty and the Lost Highway Band.

Live Review

Jimmie Dale Gilmore - Egan Center (Anchorage, AK)

Jimmie Dale Gilmore on October 15, 1996

When Jimmie Dale Gilmore traveled north for this show, his purpose was to "see Alaska" and support the Alaska Federation of Natives voter-registration drive. Gilmore and his four-member band of gifted musicians did more than just "rock the vote," they rocked the house. After a splendid, exotic start by local performers, Gilmore certainly wasn't "Headed For a Fall", despite the title of the opening song of his set. From the start, it would have been easy to compare his plaintive tenor, for which he is known, to the likes of Willie Nelson. Further listening, however, revealed much, much more.

Live Review

Rollin' Creek Dippers - Cruise KafE (Oslo, Norway)

Rollin' Creek Dippers on October 19, 1996

The ad-hoc name of Rollin' Creek Dippers is a disguise for five individuals whose careers are of indisputable interest to readers of No Depression. Mark Olson (formerly of the Jayhawks), Victoria Williams (Olson's wife), Jim Lauderdale, and a second husband-and-wife team of Buddy and Julie Miller are touring Europe with a low-key, singer-songwriter show for which there currently are not any American dates scheduled.

Live Review

Richard Buckner - The Lyric (Melbourne, Australia)

Richard Buckner on August 16, 1996

It's always dangerous to build up one's expectations, because disappointment, when it follows, will always be more acute. When, however, you allow yourself to indulge the luxury of great expectations and you are not disappointed, music is never more sweet. Richard Buckner, whether on his own, with minimal accompaniment or with the majority of Australian band Love Me in tow, did not even allow the mere specter of disappointment to rear its head. He was compelling from start to finish, with a voice that filled this great venue and a presence it could barely contain.

Live Review

Bottle Rockets - Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago, IL)

bottle rockets on September 6, 1996

On a warm September evening, at the base of a manicured green hillside, the Bottle Rockets took the stage amidst a strange mixture of odors: human perspiration, beer, the sizzling grease of $9 steak sandwiches and the repulsive stench of cigars being sucked by affluent Gap shoppers. (Thankfully, there was no scent of manure because the performance area was located far from the monkey cages and the barnyard exhibit.) Yes, the boys from Festus, Missouri, were playing at a zoo, for an audience largely unfamiliar with their music.

Live Review

Tim Carroll / Duane Jarvis / Lonesome Bob - Schubas (Chicago, IL)

Tim Carroll on September 28, 1996

A promotional tour for Nashville: The Other Side Of The Alley, Bloodshot Records' third compilation of "insurgent country," this show was like a good old-fashioned guitar pull with a stellar backing band. Songwriters Tim Carroll, Duane Jarvis and Lonesome Bob all delivered superb performances, whether singing their own compositions or providing instrumental support (along with drummer Rick Schell). The evening began with Lonesome Bob singing a handful of his own songs, often about dysfunctional relationships.

Live Review

Bad Livers - Bluebird Theater (Denver, CO)

Bad Livers on October 9, 1996

The morning after this show, I got an e-mail from Bad Livers bass player and spokesperson Mark Rubin, apologizing for an "off night" in what he felt was a "road-weary" performance. After expressing my regret at having chosen the Livers over the Gore-Kemp debate that evening, my reply went on to mention that, as a live Livers neophyte, I could only imagine what an "on" night would be.

Live Review

Son Volt - The Iron Horse (Northampton, MA) / Wilco - The Paradise (Boston, MA) / Wilco - Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel (Providence, RI) / Son Volt - The Paradise (Boston, MA)

Wilco on December 31, 1969

Saw a cool band back in October -- four nights in a row. It was all a big blur. Let me see if I can remember .... There was Jeff Tweedy, Ken Coomer, John Stirratt, Max Johnston, Jay Bennett, Mike Heidorn, Dave and Jim Boquist, and Jay Farrar. Wow. I mean, I know they expanded the lineup to five for the Anodyne tour, but this is getting out of hand. Nine guys? Two drummers? What's going on here? An Uncle Tupelo pipe dream, that's what. We all sat around speculating: Would it happen here, right in our own backyard? What is the reason for this logistical curveball thrown our way?