Rolling Stone - 11/29/90
"...with thunderous gales of guitar grunge...the songs--aching ballads and country-punk raveups--careen forward with equal parts urgency and earnestness. This is what it would have sounded like if Hank Williams had fronted Husker Du."
Spin - 9/99, p.153Ranked #63
in Spin Magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s."
Q - 10/03, p.1314 stars out of 5
- "...A grainy authority permeates 1990's NO DEPRESSION..."
Uncut - 9/03, p.1224 stars out of 5
- "...It's the most rock-oriented album they made, owing as much to Husker Du as to Hank Williams..."
Alternative Press - 3/01, p.104
Included in A.P.'s "10 Essential Alt-Country Albums" - "...Countrified punk rock with a few acoustic parlor songs interspersed to break up the train-wreck pace..."
The Bob (Fall/90) - "'No Depression' is a Norman Rockwell illustration turned upside down, a portrait of the American heartland that offers no hope, no joy, no alternatives, and no escape...As bleak as this landscape gets, Uncle Tupelo lifts the mood by conducting themselves like a rural power trio, mixing equal parts Who-style guitar lunacy and Husker Du-ish tidal waves of noise."
Paste (magazine) - "Its sound was refreshingly unvarnished, the band striving for passion over perfection, authenticity over hip cachet."
Pitchfork (Website) - "[S]omething remarkable: a raw, lonesome clatter, the singular sound of Midwestern kids getting loud and desperate."
This reissue contains 3 previously unreleased tracks plus 2 that appear on CD for the first time.
Uncle Tupelo: Jay Farrar (vocals, guitar); Jeff Tweedy (vocals, bass); Mike Heidorn (drums).
Additional personnel: Rich Gilbert (pedal steel guitar); Sean Slade (piano, background vocals); Paul Kolderie (percussion); Tim Albert (background vocals).
Includes liner notes by Mike Heidorn.
Personnel: Jay Farrar (vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, harmonica); Jeff Tweedy (vocals, acoustic guitar); Sean Slade (vocals, piano, keyboards, background vocals); Michael Heidorn (drums, cymbals, background vocals); Paul Q. Kolderie (sound effects).
Liner Note Authors: Michael Heidorn; Jay Farrar.
Recording information: Dogshew Studio, Smithton, IL (01/1990); Fort Apache South, Boston, MA (01/1990); The Music Faucet, WFMU, East Orange, NJ (01/1990).
Photographers: Terry Witt; Mo Daoud; J. Hamilton; John Jackson.
Uncle Tupelo's landmark opening salvo is the group's most rock-oriented album, steeped more in breakneck speed, punk crunch, and guitar dissonance than any of their subsequent efforts. Indeed, despite the presence of mandolins, fiddles, and banjos -- as well as inclusion of the title track, a faithful cover of the A.P. Carter classic -- the trio's vaunted country leanings are less musical than thematic on No Depression, thanks in large part to singers/songwriters Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy's acute depictions of rural, blue-collar life. Like the Replacements -- never more obvious an influence than on this LP -- Uncle Tupelo's songs paint grim, unrelenting portraits of aimless Midwestern existence, split between days working on the opening cut's "Factory Belt" and nights spent blurry-eyed and wasted ("Whiskey Bottle," "Before I Break"). Still, for all of the record's doleful cynicism -- virtually every cut nods toward dashed hopes, broken promises, and paralyzing fear -- there's an undeniable electricity afoot as well; by channeling the mournful clarity of country into the crackling fury of punk, No Depression brings new life to both musical camps. ~ Jason Ankeny