Thursday, October 2, 2008

Roy Kasten byline in new No Depression book/zine

When I heard that No Depression magazine was stopping its circulation, I was really sad - not because I was a regular reader (I don't make much time for music criticism), but because my buddy Roy Kasten was a regular writer and he said it was a consistent and lucrative gig for him. I was sorry to hear his gig was drying up.

Now, No Depression is back - with a difference - and Roy is back with it.

The mighty University of Texas Press has revived No Depression in what the editors call a "bookazine" format, with much belabored mooning over the phrase. Basically, it's bound like a soft-cover coffee table book or a graphic novel. Its first edition in the new format is dated Fall 2008 and titled after "The Next Generation" of roots musicians.

Roy's essay is about a band from Winnipeg called The Duhks and comes illustrated with some fine photographs by Laura Crosta (one of which I have taken as the basis for my rude sketch). Roy's piece is a well crafted profile, once it gets started, but it gets started with something much more elevated - some thoughful snippets of musicology:

"It's never long before genre breaks down. Music, the sound and experience of it, has more force than the forms behind it. Popular music is by definition a mixture of genres, a necessary combination of inherited structures and styles, but it's also about the instability of the conventions to begin with. If there ever were fixed forms such as bluegrass, bebop or punk, they didn't last in pure states for long."

I like that.

The bookazine is available from University of Texas Press with a website discount.


p.s. Yes, I watched the VP debate, like the rest of the world. I was only struck by 1) how far the GOP has come on talking openly about civil rights for people in same sex couples - that must have set some of their more atavistic base on edge; and, relatedly, 2) how Sarah Palin still leaned conspiratorially forward and gave some love to her dear friends who strongly disagree with her openness on that particular issue. "Our party is still safe for people who think all homosexuals will rot in hell," seemed to be the message.

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