Bloodshot Records was founded in 1993 by Nan Warshaw, Rob Miller and (former partner) Eric Babcock. The first release was a compilation called For A Life of Sin: A Compilation of Insurgent Chicago Country (1994) that Nan, Rob and Eric self-funded in an effort to document the local insurgent-country scene that had grown up around a network of artist-friendly clubs and independent record labels in Chicago at that time.
"We were living hand-to-mouth for the first two or three years," says Miller. "We didn't put out a new record until that last one had paid for itself. We had to stick by our guns and establish with media, radio, and booking agents that this punk-and-country thing could exist and develop a critical language around it." The name of the music genre was a point of contention, with some grouping the unique, hard-to-classify singer-songwriter music under the alternative country and some grouping it under the Americana label.
Some of the early artists who started out on Bloodshot went on to sign with larger major record labels, specifically Old 97's and Ryan Adams. Neko Case had a licensing deal with Bloodshot Records in the United States and Mint Records in Canada before she signed with ANTI-.
Music on Bloodshot Records
- Ryan Adams
- Bobby Bare, Jr.‡
- Rico Bell
- Scott H. Biram‡
- Maggie Bjorklund‡
- The Blacks‡
- The Bottle Rockets‡
- Cory Branan‡
- Paul Burch‡
- Neko Case
- Exene Cervenka‡
- The Deadstring Brothers‡
- The Detroit Cobras‡
- Devil In A Woodpile‡
- Dollar Store‡
- Justin Townes Earle‡
- Alejandro Escovedo
- Rosie Flores‡
- Robbie Fulks
- Gore Gore Girls‡
- Grievous Angels
- Ha Ha Tonka‡
- Wayne Hancock‡
- Rex Hobart & the Misery Boys
- Kelly Hogan
- I'm Not Jim‡
- J.C. Brooks & The Uptown Sound‡
- Roger Knox‡
- Ben Kweller
- Jim & Jennie and the Pinetops
- Jon Langford‡
- Th' Legendary Shack*Shakers
- Lydia Loveless‡
- The Meat Purveyors
- Moonshine Willy
- Murder By Death‡
- Danbert Nobacon‡
- Nora O'Connor
- Old 97's
- Graham Parker‡
- Mark Pickerel‡
- Charlie Pickett‡
- The Pine Valley Cosmonauts
- Neal Pollack
- Jon Rauhouse
- The Riptones
- Dex Romweber Duo‡
- The Sadies
- The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir‡
- Scroat Belly
- The Silos‡
- Eddie Spaghetti‡
- Split Lip Rayfield
- Sally Timms
- Trailer Bride
- The Volebeats
- Waco Brothers‡
- Ben Weaver‡
- Wee Hairy Beasties‡
- Whitey Morgan and the 78's‡
- Andre Williams‡
- Luke Winslow-King‡
- The Yayhoos
‡ Double dagger symbol denotes active Bloodshot artists
Bloodshot Compilations & Various Artists
Bloodshot Records began its life as a label by releasing compilations.
- For A Life of Sin: A Compilation of Insurgent Chicago Country (1994)
- Hell Bent: Insurgent Country Volume 2 (1995)
- Nashville, The Other Side of the Alley (1996)
- Straight Outta Boone County (1997)
- Poor Little Knitter on the Road: A Tribute to the Knitters (1999)
- Down to the Promised Land: 5 Years of Bloodshot Records (2000)
- The Bottle Let Me Down (2002)
- Making Singles, Drinking Doubles (2002)
- The Slaughter Rule (Original Movie Soundtrack) (2003)
- Hard Headed Woman: A Celebration of Wanda Jackson (2004)
- For A Decade of Sin: 11 Years of Bloodshot Records (2005)
- Bloodied But Unbowed: The Soundtrack (2006)
- Just One More: A Musical Tribute to Larry Brown (2007)
- No One Got Hurt: Bloodshot's 15th Anniversary @ The Hideout Block Party (2011)
Bloodshot Revival/Soundies: A series of historic transcription acetate recordings that were leased to radio stations for airplay but never sold at the time of recording.
- Rex Allen: Last of the Great Singing Cowboys (1999)
- Johnny Bond: Country and Western (2001)
- Spade Cooley: Shame On You (1999)
- Jimmie Davis: Louisiana (2000)
- Pee Wee King: Country Hoedown (1999)
- Hank Penny: Crazy Rhythm (2000)
- Sons of the Pioneers: Symphonies of the Sage (2001)
- The Sundowners: Chicago Country Legends (2004)
- Hank Thompson: Hankworld (1999)
- Old Town School Recordings with Old Town School of Folk Music
- Invisible China with Martin Atkins (from Public Image Ltd (PiL))
- "Meet an FMC fan: Nan Warshaw of Bloodshot Records". Future of Music Coalition blog. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Chamberlain, Dave (11 April 2002). "So you wanna start a record label? Bloodshot Records shares the inside information on starting--and keeping--a music business.". New City Chicago. Archived from the original on 10 February 2003. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Chipps, William (17 September 2009). "Bloodshot Records: An Indie Music Label’s Take On Sponsorship". Sponsorship.com. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Finn, Timothy (12 October 2000). "Country Confessions: Oh, it's country time again for industry". The Kansas City Star. Archived from the original on 18 January 2001. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Smith-Lindall, Anders (11 October 2000). "Sweethearts of the Rodeo: Chicago transplants Neko Case and Kelly Hogan carry the torch for 21st-century twang". City Pages (Minneapolis/St. Paul). Archived from the original on 4 February 2001. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Margasak, Peter (15 June 2000). "Bloodshot Eyes the Future". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- "Bloodshot Records Week // Rob Miller on 10 Years Since Heartbreaker". The Line Of Best Fit. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Wener, Ben (29 July 2001). "Americana, what art thou? Pop: The word has replaced alt-country and No Depression as the new label for roots music - but does that mean it's a real genre?". The Orange County (OC) Register. Archived from the original on 5 August 2001. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Hill, David (23 August 2001). "A Special Case: Neko Case has yet to make the Opry, but her reputation as a new country pioneer is grand.". Denver Westword. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Bishop, Robert (29 March 2001). "Split Decision". The Pitch (Kansas City). Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- "Bloodshot Records Week Interview // Elia Einhorn (Scotland Yard Gospel Choir) interviews Jon Langford". The Line Of Best Fit. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- "Label Spotlight: Bloodshot Records". plug in music. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- "Bloodshot Revival". Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Carlozo, Louis R. (7 November 2006). "Bloodshot DVD celebrates label that's insurgent". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Perlich, Tim (19–26 October 2006). "Bloodied but unbowed". NOW magazine. Retrieved 4 May 2013.