By all measures, 1990 was a pivotal year for country-rock, or what we came to call "Alt. Country
," or even "No Depression
," the latter term being the title of the debut album released that year by a country-infused trio out of Belleville, IL., called Uncle Tupelo
. I 'm sure I don't need to spend too much time elaborating on the merits of this band that re-awakened a slumbering genre with enough force to have that genre thereafter associated with its debut.
I will say, however, that I own a good number of t-shirts with their name emblazoned on them, as well as t-shirts for the band Son Volt
, formed, after Uncle Tupelo's break-up, by Jay Farrar
. Out of all proportion to any of my other band T's (and I own many), these Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt t-shirts almost without fail find me being stopped by strangers telling me how much they love those bands.
Now to my real point...
Mining similar material and existing through the same arc of time, a much lesser known band, steeped in bluegrass but pulling it into the 21
st century by its fiddle-strings was rockin' its way out of northern New York State. The Blood Oranges
featured singer/songwriter/mandolinist Jim Ryan
, guitarist Mark Spencer
, singer/songwriter/bassist Cheri Knight
and drummer Ron Ward
. The Blood Oranges were a really, really good band, good enough that Steven Mirkin
in a June 1994 Rolling Stone
said that they, "...find ways to make country-rock fusion seem like an idea with unlimited potential." They followed their 1990 debut, Corn River
with 1992's Lone Green Valley
and The Crying Tree
in 1994. All of them strong albums and all of them more or less greeted with apathy by the record-buying populace. Then they called it quits.