No Depression (magazine)

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No Depression
Issue 74 of No Depression magazine (March/April 2008)
Categories Music magazine
Frequency Bi-monthly
First issue September 1995
Final issue June 2008
Country United States
Language English
ISSN 1088-4971

No Depression was, from 1995-2008,[1] a quarterly and then bimonthly magazine that covered a broad range of roots music, including alternative country and Americana. It went out of print in 2008, evolving into an online publication driven largely by crowd-sourced content from 2009-2014. No Depression was purchased by FreshGrass LLC in 2014, who introduced the return of paid long feature stories and weekly columns. And, in 2015, it announced the magazine would be returning to print with a first annual edition releasing in September 2015.


No Depression was launched in September 1995[1] (as a quarterly) by co-editors/co-founders Grant Alden and Peter Blackstock. Kyla Fairchild, who handled the business functions of the magazine from the beginning, became a co-publisher with Alden and Blackstock in 1998. The magazine was named for the Carter Family song "No Depression in Heaven," the 1990 album No Depression by the band Uncle Tupelo, and an early AOL online discussion group on alternative country called The No Depression Folder.[2]

Over the course of thirteen years, No Depression gradually grew into one of the nation's most prominent and broad-ranging bimonthly music publications[peacock term] until it ceased print operations in June 2008. Along the way, No Depression received Utne Reader Independent Press Awards for Arts & Literature coverage,[3] and was cited as one of the nation's Top 20 magazines of any kind in 2004 by the Chicago Tribune.[4]

Other ventures during the company's print history included a No Depression Tour (featuring Whiskeytown, the Old 97's, Hazeldine, and the Picketts) in 1997; two best-of anthologies published by Dowling Press (1998) and University of Texas Press (2005); and the No Depression Radio Show, which aired on dozens of stations across the United States in 2002 and 2003.[citation needed]

The publishers announced in February 2008 that the May–June 2008 issue would be its last.[5] Buddy Miller was featured on the cover of the final issue, with No Depression declaring him Artist of the Decade.

No Depression co-founders Alden and Blackstock sold their ownership stakes to Fairchild in 2008 and 2010, respectively.[citation needed] Fairchild sold her ownership to FreshGrass LLC in 2014.[citation needed] FreshGrass LLC also holds the FreshGrass Festival in conjunction with Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA).

Two No Depression music festivals took place at Marymoore Park, just outside Seattle. The first was on July 11, 2009 and featured Gillian Welch, Iron and Wine, Patterson Hood and the Screwtopians, Jesse Sykes, Justin Townes Earle, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Zee Avi, and Seattle roots music all-stars.[6][7] The second was August 21, 2010 and featured The Swell Season, Lucinda Williams, The Cave Singers, Alejandro Escovedo, Chuck Prophet, Sera Cahoone, and The Maldives.[8][9]

In the wake of the magazine going out of print, No Depression launched a community website ( on the Ning platform in February 2009. That site was a community of bloggers, videographers, photographers, artists, labels, DJs, venues, and fans around the world. Site content came from throughout the community, which attracted more than 190,000 visits (155,000 unique) per month.[citation needed]

In early 2014, Kyla Fairchild moved on, selling No Depression to FreshGrass LLC, who migrated the website off the Ning platform, to its own domain, later that same year. That migration included the resurrection of commissioned professional editorial content alongside the crowd-sourced content that continues to make up much of the publication. Now, in addition to the reviews, photos, videos, podcasts, and articles posted by contributors around the world, No Depression commissions a few cover stories per month, maintains a small handful of paid weekly columnists, and curates a venue-focused live review program called ND Roots. FreshGrass also integrated the extensive archive of No Depression's 75 print issues into its new platform, making the entire history of No Depression's articles -- from its first print run to the present day -- searchable in one place.[citation needed]

Return to print[edit]

No Depression published three "bookazines" with University of Texas Press; the debut edition of the bookazine was released fall 2008, the second edition March 2009, and the last in September 2009.[citation needed]

In May 2015, No Depression announced it would be returning to print after seven years of being an online-only publication.[10] According to an article by Kim Ruehl, "we’re opening up pre-orders via Kickstarter for what will be a truly unique magazine – there will be no advertisements. Instead, the articles will be accompanied only by stunning photography and original illustrations. The paper will be larger and thicker than you might remember from the original incarnation, printed by the one of the only carbon-neutral printers in North America."[11]

History of cover features[edit]

No Depression senior editors Barry Mazor (left) and David Cantwell; seated between them is Holly George-Warren, author of Public Cowboy No. 1, a biography of Gene Autry.
  1. 58: Lizz Wright (July-Aug), #59: Nickel Creek (Sept-Oct), #60: New Orleans (Nov-Dec)


  1. ^ a b "The 20 Best Magazines of the Decade (2000-2009)". Paste Magazine. November 26, 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  2. ^ Barr, Brian J. (September 22, 2005). "A Decade of DIY: 'No Depression' Celebrates American Music". The Stranger. Retrieved May 15, 2015. 
  3. ^ "2001 Utne Reader Independent Press Award Winners". Independent Democracy. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  4. ^ "Chicago Tribune Recognizes No Depression". CMT News. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  5. ^ No Depression: letter
  6. ^ "No Depression Music Festival among tickets on sale this week". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ "No Depression Festival Lineup Announcement". No Depression. May 10, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2015. 
  8. ^ "2010 No Depression Festival Lineup Announcement [UPDATED]". No Depression. April 23, 2010. Retrieved May 15, 2015. 
  9. ^ "No Depression Festival 2010". Songkick. Retrieved May 15, 2015. 
  10. ^ "No Depression takes to Kickstarter for return to print". Bluegrass Today. May 12, 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  11. ^ Ruehl, Kim (May 11, 2015). "Announcing No Depression's Return to Print". No Depression. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 

External links[edit]