When Julie Schaper and Steve Horwitz are not listening to music, they're reading. Both have worked in publishing in one capacity or another for 20 years. Their first co-editing project was Twin Cities Noir
(Akashic). They live in St. Paul, Minnesota, with their two dogs.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS...
Robbie Fulks (Chicago, IL)
Robbie Fulks is a long time Chicago resident whose musical career spans twenty years and an eclectic range of songwriting that reflects his own unique take on country music. In addition to his solo work, he produced a tribute to Johnny Paycheck, Touch My Heart, that made several of the year's best-of lists. His most recent release is Revenge! (Yep Roc Records), a double live CD. He is a contributor to the 2008 book A Guitar and a Pen (Center Strreet).
Mary Gauthier (Baton Rouge, LA)
Mary Gauthier was born in New Orleans and began her career as a singer and songwriter at the age of 35, after owning and running several successful restaurants in Boston, MA. Her third album, Filth and Fire, was named indie CD of the year by John Pareles of the New York Times. Her first major label release, Mercy Now, was named to top 10 lists for the year 2005 in dozens of publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, and Billboard Magazine. In the same year, The Americana Music Association voted her "Best New Artist." Her second Universal/Lost Highway release, Between Daylight and Dark, was released in 2007.
Cynthia Hopkins (Brooklyn, NY)
Cynthia Hopkins is the recipient of the 2007 Alpert Award in Theatre, honoring her work as a writer, composer, musician, and performer of unique music/theater prokects featuring her band, Gloria Deluxe. With Gloria Deluxe, Hopkins is currently at work on an album of love songs titled LOVE is gonna be my weapon and YOU are gonna be my first victim. With her ensemble company Accinosco, Hopkins is at work on a new performance piece titled The Success of Failure (or, The Failure of Success).
Cam King (Fredericksburg, TX)
Originally from Albuquerque, guitarist/songwriter Cam King has made his musical home in Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville and now Fredericksburg, TX. Selections from his early music were used by Tobe Hooper, fresh from the movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre, for his follow-up film, Bloodfest. In 1978, Cam co-founded The Explosives, the Austin band associated with the legendary Roky Erickson. Cam's songs have been covered by Garth Brooks, Marcia Ball, Lonestar, and others. At home in the hill country and on the road, Cam performs, composes and records. He writes prose and the occasional poem, but prefers prose for economic reasons -- "Writing poetry generally takes a couple more beers than prose."
Damon Krukowski (Cambridge, MA)
Damon Krukowski has recorded over a dozen albums with the bands Damon & Naomi, Galaxie 500, and Magic Hour, and is the author of the poetry collection The Memory Theater Burned (Turtle Point, 2004). He and his partner Naomi Yang also run the publishing house Exact Change, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Jon Langford (Chicago, IL)
Jon Langford was a founding member of the punk band The Mekons. In the 1980s he began incorporating folk and country music into his other punk rock projects such as the Pine Valley Cosmonauts and the Waco Brothers. Wangford is a respected visual artist represented by Yard Dog in Austin, TX. His multimedia music/spoken-word/video performance, The Executioner's Last Songs, premiered in 2005, and has been performed in several other cities. He illustrated the comic strip Great Pop Things under the pseudonym Chuck Death. He's a regular contributor to This American Life. Nashville Radio, a collection of his artwork and writings, was published in 2006.
Patty Larkin (Cape Cod, MA)
Patty Larkin is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, and guitarist. She has been a favorite for years in folk circles and in her home territory of New England where she has won seven Boston Music Awards including outstanding folk act, outstanding folk album, and outstanding song/songwriter. Her most recent CD is Watch the Sky, which she wrote, produced, engineered, and edited.
Maria McKee (Los Angeles, CA)
Singer and songwriter Maria McKee came to fame as the lead singer for the pioneering Americana band Lone Justice followed by a solo career that includes six critically acclaimed albums. The Washington Post called her "a fiery amalgam of Dusty Springfield, EmmyLou Harris, and Connie Francis." Her songs have been covered by everyone from Bette Midler to the Dixie Chicks. Her most recent recording is Maria McKee: Live at the BBC.
Rhett Miller (New York, NY)
Rhett Miller has been the lead singer in the old 97's for 15 years and is also a successful solo musician. One of his short stories was published in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern and another was included in an anthology of writers writing about songs called Lit Riffs (MTV Books). Rhett Miller's most recent release is The Believer.
David Olney (Nashville, TN)
David Olney's musical career spans four decades. Known for his intense live performances, Olney's intelligent compositions have been recorded by everyone from EmmyLou Harris and Linda Ronstadt to Del McCoury and Lonny Brooks. The late singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt put Olney on his short list of favorite writers, alongside Mozart, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Bob Dylan. His current album release is Live at Norm's River Road House, Vol. I.
Zak Sally (Minneapolis, MN)
Zak Sally is the former bassist for the band Low. He has been creating comics since the early 1990s and formally started the publishing house La Mano Press in Minneapolis, MN in 2005. His most recent comic is Sammy the Mouse (Fantagraphics).
Chris Smither (Boston, MA)
Chris Smither is an acclaimed singer-songwriter, whose career spans 40 years, 12 albums, and three DVDs. He tours world-wide, performing at clubs, concert halls, and festivals. Smither's songs have appeared in various films and television shows, and have been covered by Bonnie Raitt, EmmyLou Harris, and Diana Krall, among others. In 2006, Smither contributed an essay entitled "Become a Parent" to the book Sixty Things To Do When You Turn Sixty. His most recent CD is Leave the Light On with a new recording scheduled for release in late 2009.
Rennie Sparks (Albuquerque, NM)
Rennie Sparks is the lyricist, banjo, and bass player for The Handsome Family. Together with her husband Brett Sparks (who writes the music), she has released eight CDs. Their latest CD, Honey Moon, is a collection of love songs that is romantic in the truest sense of the word -- where the raptures of love tangle in green vines, drift across moonlit seas, and shimmer in the wings of crawling bugs. Honey Moon was written in celebration of the Sparks' twentieth year of marriage.
Laura Viers (Seattle, WA)
Laura Viers was born in 1973 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She didn't get involved with music until college, where she studied geology and Mandarin Chinese. She joined an all-girl punk band before eventually developing an admiration for folk and country music. She released her self-titled debut in 1999. Since then she has recorded five albums and toured extensively. Her most recent album, Saltbreakers, includes songs inspired by A.S. Byatt's novel Possession and Jose Saramago's Blindness.
Ben Weaver (St. Paul, MN)
Ben Weaver is a writer, artist, and musician. Larry Brown wrote, "Ben Weaver is the most exciting young songwriter I've come across, an American original whose voice and guitar are matched only by the power of his words." He has published two books of poetry: Hand Me Downs Can Be Haunted, and The Talking Comes Later. His most recent release is the Ax in the Oak.
Jim White (Athens, GA)
Jim White has worked as a taxi driver, professional surfer, fashion model, photographer, filmmaker and musician. His first CD Wrong-Eyed Jesus appeared in 1997 on the label Luaka Bop. Since then he has released five CDs that have been described as "outer space alternative country" and "hypnotic storytelling." His most recent CD is Transnormal Skipperoo.