- Nancy Riley
American alternative country music group. A band from Belleville, Illinois, Uncle Tupelo came to symbolize an indie music movement that merged punk, rock, and country at a time when country and rock music were becoming increasingly homogenous and slickly produced. Their debut album, No Depression (Rockville, 1990), was titled after and contained a cover of a Carter Family song. The term “No Depression” became a reference term for similar bands, and the name of an online discussion group, which spawned the movement’s print publication of the same name.
Uncle Tupelo began as a punk band called the Primitives in a blue-collar suburb of St. Louis in the early 1980s, featuring Jay Farrar (b Belleville, IL, 26 Dec 1966) and Jeff Tweedy (b Belleville, IL, 25 Aug 1967) playing guitars and singing, and drummer Mike Heidorn (b Belleville, IL, 1967). In 1987, the trio became Uncle Tupelo and began performing original songs written by Farrar and Tweedy that fused elements of rock, punk, and country with lyrical themes about Middle America and the working class. The band signed a record deal with indie label Rockville Records and released their debut album in ...