Uncle Tupelo's No Depression (Legacy Edition) is the Pick of the Week

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I was kind of a metal head in high school.  Not hardcore mind you - I preferred Dinosaur Jr to Opeth and Soundgarden over Slayer.  But I did like my loud guitars and booming bass.  But I also had a secret, something I would have never told my guitar hero friends, I also really like acoustic music.  I loved it when my big rock bands would sneak in a little acoustic ballad.  I was an enormous fan of the whole Unplugged movement.  

But in those days I didn't really know where to find acoustic style bands.  One time I purchased some acoustic guitar album thinking it might be right up my alley but it turned out to be some dude playing Bach or Beethoven or some other classical composer and it was not at all what I wanted to be.  

I tried country which seemed to involve a lot of acoustic music, but this was modern country and it sounded more like bad pop music with worse accents.  Eventually I discovered the whole alternative country movement and felt right at home.  Folks like Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earle Keen had old school country roots but were updating it with a modern sound that wasn't anything like the modern country on the radio.  They combined country, folk, and bluegrass with rock, jazz and the blues and created some of the most imaginative music at the time.  Old folks like Guy Clark and John Prine had been bearing that torch for decades and I fell in love with all of it.

I knew of Uncle Tupelo in those early days, but had never sat down with one of their albums.  Years later I got really into Wilco (Jeff Tweedy's post-Tupelo break-up band) and eventually went back to their roots and listened to Tupelo.  Honestly I've never really dug Uncle Tupelo as I feel I ought to.  They've got some great songs, and its fascinating to see how Tweedy has developed as a songwriter, but their music always sounds embryonic to me.  Like they were still trying to figure out what they were trying to do (which in all likelihood they were) but its still some interesting stuff.

Probably their best album, No Depression is getting the Legacy Edition treatment.  It comes with the original album and a second disk of 17 demos takes from the late 1980s.  It is a terrific album in its own right.  It has these great punk inspired rockers, old sad bastard blues numbers and even a straight up cover of the title song which was originally recorded by the Carter Family.  In a great many ways Uncle Tupelo started the very alternative country movement that I had become so enamored with.  Its wonderful to see this album get the deluxe treatment and that's why its my Pick of the Week.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Goodnight Tender - Amy Ray:  One half of the Indigo Girls releases her fifth solo studio album.  As a solo artist she's pursued some genres she's unable to in the more folkie Indigo Girls and this one is supposed to be pretty straight up country.

Croz - David Crosby:  The old rockers first album in 20 years.