Utne Blogs > Arts and Culture

No Depression Returns (in Bookazine Form)

by Jake Mohan 


Tags: Arts, music, criticism, media, magazines, independent press, independent magazines, music writing, music criticism,

no depressionFor 13 years and 75 issues, No Depression was a beloved chronicler of the alt-country music world. In February of this year, the magazine’s publishers sadly announced they were halting production, citing insufficient ad revenue, a music industry in transition, and the troubled economy.

“Barring the intercession of unknown angels, you hold in your hands the next-to-the-last edition of No Depression we will publish,” publishers Grant Alden, Peter Blackstock and Kyla Fairchild wrote in the magazine’s March-April issue.

Just eight months later, Alden and Blackstock provide this addendum: “As it turned out, the angels who interceded to preserve No Depression were mostly well-known to us. Some who responded were rank strangers; all were generous and kind.” So begins issue #76 of the resurrected magazine, in the form of a lavish, 145-page, ad-free paperback—or, in the words of its cover copy, “bookazine (whatever that is).”

Published by the University of Texas Press and hitting stands this week, the theme of Issue #76 is “The Next Generation,” its cover graced by Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet and its profiles mostly devoted to emerging artists like the Infamous Stringdusters, Bowerbirds, and Samantha Crain. Tucked in the back of the issue is a feature on Hanson—yes, that Hanson.

No Depression’s online organ—currently offline, but set to relaunch soon—will continue with news and reviews, along with a near-complete archive of back issues. The bookazine, published semiannually, will contain less time-sensitive content.

In a troubled publishing industry, No Depression’s unique reincarnation might provide a model for other endangered or extinct publications—the bookazine represents one altered, but not necessarily diminished, manifestation of the independent magazine in a changing media landscape.