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No Depression

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Editors’ Notes

“Graveyard Shift”—the barn-burning first track on Uncle Tupelo's heralded debut—may come as something of a surprise to the uninitiated. The band that later birthed Wilco and Son Volt is credited with pretty much inspiring an entire genre of alt-country (dubbed No Depression) that few may remember being so raucous. It was the era of Dinosaur Jr. and Mudhoney, and you can hear that in the muscular guitars of “Graveyard Shift,” “Factory Belt,” and other tracks. But interspersed throughout are laconic, campfire smoke–scented numbers with pedal steel guitar, harmonica, and fiddles. Jay Farrar’s tumbleweed voice was well suited to songs about porches, trains, and whiskey bottles, and after No Depression, the band moved even further into drawling, countrified territory. Jeff Tweedy’s contributions here—outstanding on the speed-cowboy rave-up “Train” and the woozy, effervescent “Flatness”—pointed the way, in retrospect, to a future with two highly talented musicians wrangling over artistic control. (Farrar and drummer Mike Heidorn went on to Son Volt, Tweedy to Wilco.)

Customer Reviews

best album of the nineties, easy.

Nevermind was great and all but No Depression is that decades best. Hell, one could argue that there hasn't been a better or more important album made since this one. One need not be a fan of country, punk or the idea of the two of them all mixed together to enjoy this record, though. All it takes a love of good, honest rock and roll and a memory of all the things that made the 90's ugly. The thing that No Depression did so well was take all the angst and confusion of its time and put it in some sort of historical context. Which is something Nevermind did not do.

break the bridge

Only four reviews on this record is dumfounding! Get off the highway and crank this one on any given dirt road off into the desert (or on your way to work) and you will surely be grabbed by what an important piece of music this is. Breaks boundaries and just about cracks the bridge. ESSENTIAL rock and roll. Coming from an era when radio died and music bloomed under the radar. brilliant.

raw and honest

Hard to know what to add to all the good that has been said about this album. It is a must-have. Some really great music has followed since Tupelo laid down the tracks for this powerhouse recording but none of it has been as raw and honest as this. As a historical document, it's priceless. As great Cosmic American music, it is essential. It's loud, noisy, young, brash, painful and lovely. What more can you ask of a group of kids from small-town America?


Formed: 1987 in Belleville, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s

With the release of their 1990 debut LP, No Depression, the Belleville, IL, trio Uncle Tupelo launched more than simply their own career -- by fusing the simplicity and honesty of country music with the bracing fury of punk, they kick-started a revolution which reverberated throughout the American underground. Thanks to a successful online site and subsequent fanzine which adopted the album's name, the tag "No Depression" became a catch-all for the like-minded artists who, along with Tupelo, signalled...
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