In This Issue: Danny Bland's 'In Case We Die' novel, 
Dave Alvin's Facebook Diary 2013, and the Latest News.


A novel by Danny Bland     - interview by Tom Wilk

Some words from the staff on the 20th Anniversary of
American Music: The Blasters / Dave Alvin Newsletter

Billy Davis American Music Editor Speaks

  It's the 20th Anniversary of American Music: The Blasters / Dave Alvin Newsletter. Wow! It's been so much fun and I expect it will continue to be. I had to think for a minute: 'What can I write about this anniversary that I didn't say at the 10th Anniversary?' Looking back at how I felt ten years ago, I read my prediction from the tenth anniversary issue: "I'm sure I'll have more to talk about when the twentieth anniversary comes around."
  What's so satisfying about the second ten years of the newsletter is that I am just as passionate about the great people associated with these bands and their music as I was during the newsletter's first ten years.
   Growing up in NYC in the 70s and 80s, I came of age during the era of arena rock.  But that was before I was enlightened by roots music and the world of the Blasters American Music. Superstars from my youth, like my favorite band Kiss, are not necessarily nice or real people you can identify with. They don't live normal lives. It's all about their music as entertainment, so it doesn't matter if you like how they live their life. On the other hand, American Roots music people tend to be the type of genuine people I admire. Their songs speak to us with a reality.
     When I first got into roots music, I discovered that I actually admired the artists who write and perform my favorite songs as real human beings.  This connection greatly enhanced my experience with the music.
   In the second decade of the newsletter, I have realized even more how much I enjoy all of my friendships with fans and collectors of American Music. I have close friends I see on a regular basis, and there are some that I see once every year or two at a show. I always enjoy catching up and talking about music with them. The Blasters and Dave Alvin have always allowed me to hang out backstage at shows, but most of the time I choose not to, so that I don't miss out on saying hello to old friends and new ones.
American Music: The Blasters / Dave Alvin newsletter started out as a fan club. But fan clubs usually don't run twenty years. Often, when preparing the next newsletter, I wonder if the stories will be interesting enough for my readers, so that we're not rehashing what we've done before. But when every issue is finished, I'm astonished to find out something new about the world of American Music. Each time, I'm as proud of the issue as I am of any other.
    Equal credit goes to two other key people. Tom Wilk started writing for the newsletter in May 1999; he continues to come up with a wide range of interesting, unique stories.  I can't thank him enough for his tireless efforts. Tom also provides The Blasters Newsletter with all the latest news items. Craig Frischkorn has been with the newsletter since 1997 as copy editor; he cleans up all the grammar, spelling, etc., and makes it all shiny. He suffers the most when the writers have deadlines and he has to proofread everything in a small window of time before each deadline. He's the unsung hero. Thanks, buddies.
    Speaking of deadlines, I need to explain the less-frequent newsletters. Recently, I've been busy playing in three cover bands, one of which has found some success.  We're called Show No Mercy: NY's Slayer Tribute band. I also have a fourth band that is currently recording an original progressive metal concept CD. It's a project that I've tried to get off the ground since even before the newsletter started. None of these projects are roots-based, so normally you'll never hear about it in this newsletter. But I just want everyone to know that the gap between newsletters is caused by one passion delaying another

    With the Blasters, and later Dave as a solo artist, I've made a commitment to follow the music. It's a journey that has lasted nearly a third of a century and taken me from my mid-20s to late 50s.
    The songs still speak to me. From the loneliness and hope that collide on BORDER RADIO to the quest to rise above life's daily challenges on ASHGROVE, Dave's lyrics allow space for listeners to find themselves and tap into universal emotions.
    Phil's powerful voice sounds triumphant on AMERICAN MUSIC, still one of the best celebrations of the nation's artistic heritage, and foreboding on LONG WHITE CADILLAC. As an interpreter, he can make an old song sound new, such as BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME from
Unsung Stories and LOW DOWN RHYTHM from County Fair 2000.
    As a former music writer for newspapers and magazines, I got to interview Dave on numerous occasions and Phil once. I found them to be down-to-earth people, the kind you would enjoy having a beer with.
    Since seeing the original lineup of the Blasters at the old Chestnut Cabaret in Philadelphia in October 1984, I have traveled from the Palace in Los Angeles to the Bottom Line in New York. I've managed to see the Blasters with and without Dave and Dave solo and with the Guilty Men, the Guilty Women, the Guilty Ones and the Knitters about 20 times. It's coming full circle with Dave and Phil touring together in 2014 and releasing an album under their own names.
     I am reminded what Dave told me in a 2009 interview about recording with the Guilty Women: "The way to improve as a musician is to play with other musicians." It's a sentiment that he has followed, and Dave has left his listeners richer for the experience.
     While I am not a musician, I'm satisfied to be a member of the audience and writer. After all, the audience plays an essential role in any artist's development in terms of support and feedback. There's also a pleasure derived from research and writing and introducing people to new music and musicians and hearing someone say, "Wow, I didn't know that."

Copy Editor Craig Frischkorn Speaks

   I think I speak for all readers of American Music when I say how grateful I am for the music of the Alvins, which remains a real source of personal joy.  For all of us who work on the newsletter and for our readers, the music of these brothers matters deeply.    And on the newsletter's 20th anniversary, I want to thank Billy Davis and Tom Wilk for their undying loyalty to covering and sharing information about the music of Phil and Dave Alvin. As a copyeditor, I say gladly that collaborating on American Music is a privilege, a pleasure, and an honor.  --Craig Frischkorn

AMERICAN  MUSIC: The Blasters / Dave Alvin newsletter
editor/writer: Billy Davis      copy editor: Craig Frischkorn     writer Tom Wilk

AMERICAN  MUSIC: The Blasters / Dave Alvin newsletter
editor/writer: Billy Davis      copy editor: Craig Frischkorn     writer Tom Wilk