Hillbillies, Outlaws, and Songwriting Legends: The Legacy Of Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium

Ryman Auditorium

It was the trash in the streets that finally got the Grand Ole Opry tossed out of War Memorial Auditorium, the radio barn dance’s fourth home since it first aired in 1925. From 1939 until 1943, the popular show had broadcast from one of Nashville’s swankiest downtown venues, directly across the street from the State […]

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If You Can Make It There: Five Legendary New York City Music Locales

Cafe Wha

(The Chelsea Hotel) “53rd & 3rd! Standing on the street! 53rd & 3rd! Trying to turn a trick!” barked the Ramones on their 1976 song named after a notorious New York intersection. In the 1960s and into the early 1970s, that area was rundown, seedy, and forbidding: largely abandoned during the day but a hot […]

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Noah Gundersen: Ledges

Noah Gundersen Ledges

Noah Gundersen Ledges (Dualtone) 3.5 out of 5 stars Noah Gundersen’s first full-length album opens with “Poor Man’s Son,” a nearly a cappella tune featuring the Seattle singer-songwriter harmonizing with his sister Abby. He strums a few times on his acoustic guitar, but that’s mainly to let you know it’s still there. Mostly the song […]

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Come Around Sundown: Country Music In The Crescent City

sam doores

(Sam Doores. Photos by Sarrah Danziger) One of the most influential New Orleans albums of the last ten years came packaged in a brown paper bag, like a bottle of cheap booze. Sundown Songs’ 2008 debut, Like A Jazz Band In Nashville, collects twenty austere, rambling, surprisingly deft country tunes – plus one recipe for […]

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5 Essential New Orleans Singer-Songwriter Albums

sundown

  Sundown Songs: Like A Jazz Band In New Orleans (2008) This debut was a DIY labor of love: a loose group of musicians recorded the songs in a friend’s shotgun shack studio, burned the CDs themselves, cut out the album covers, and distributed it to friends at a barbecue. Thanks to its comfy country […]

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To A Better Land: Uncle Tupelo and the Legacy of No Depression

UncleTupelo Press Photo With Credits

This story appears in our January/February Legends Issue. Belleville, Illinois, did not weather the 1980s particularly well. Sprawled just thirty minutes due east of St. Louis, the factory town had thrived during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when it swelled with factories and foundries and earned the nickname “Stove Capital of the World.” It […]

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Q&A: Jay Farrar Remembers Uncle Tupelo

jay farrar

  On January 28, Legacy Recordings will reissue Uncle Tupelo’s landmark 1990 debut No Depression as a double-disc set, featuring unearthed demos and live material. We caught up with Uncle Tupelo’s Jay Farrar recently to discuss the album’s rich history. Read our feature story on Uncle Tupelo from the January/February Legends issue here. What was […]

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Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks: Wig Out At Jagbags

Stephen Malkmus

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks Wig Out at Jagbags (Matador) 3 stars out of 5 “Shanghai’ed in Oregon, cinnamon and lesbians,” Stephen Malkmus sings on his sixth solo album. He’s setting a scene, and it’s clear that scene is Portland, where he’s made his home for more than a decade now. Post-Portlandia, that city and […]

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Tony Joe White: Hoodoo Voodoo

tony joe white

When Tony Joe White isn’t on stage laying down some supernaturally swampy guitar riffs or in his studio jamming with his band, he can usually be found somewhere along the banks of the Tennessee River. An avid fisherman, the 72-year-old legend takes time between tour legs and recording session to bait his hooks and cast […]

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American Songwriter’s Top 50 Songs Of 2013

middleTop Songs of 2013

50.  Slaid Cleaves, “Texas Love Song” In this love triangle between a man, a woman, and the Lone Star State, Slaid Cleaves manages to rhyme “deep in the heart of Texas” with “where nobody can text us,” which by itself would warrant placement on this list. 49. Lorde, “Royals” Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor was the anti-Miley […]

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Ashley Monroe: When the Roses Bloom Again

Ashley Monroe

How do you drive up to Guy Clark’s house, pull out your guitar, and write a song with the country legend without getting completely star-struck and tongue-tied? Ashley Monroe asked herself that very question when she found herself collaborating with Clark on “Like A Rose,” the mostly autobiographical title track from her second album. In […]

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Tworopa: U2’s Zooropa 20 Years Later

u2-bono-zooropa

As college students in the 1990s, American Songwriter contributor Stephen M. Deusner and Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter-sociologist Brady Potts spent hours arguing the merits and demerits of U2, in particular the Irish quartet’s divisive 1993 album Zooropa. Deusner hated it; Potts loved it. To mark the twentieth anniversary of the Irish band’s eighth album, the two […]

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