Paste published three quarterly issues and two bi-monthly issues during our first full year of existence. The first (Issue #3) featured images of all 20 of the best albums of 2002, as we looked back on our favorites. In my editorial, I highlighted the global nature of the issue with music coming from “Norway, Irealnad, Iceland, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, England and every region of the U.S.,” along with “Zhang Yimou’s films of rural China and the beautiful twang of Australia’s Kasey Chambers” and “the Tuareg tribesman of the southern Sahara” who “traded their rifles and swords in for electric guitars; their band, Tinariwen, plays songs about peace and reconciliation.”
Issue #4 covered the short-lived supergroup of Matthew Sweet, Shawn Mullins & Pete Droge in The Thorns, along with feature profiles of Lucinda Williams, Ben Harper, Stephen Malkmus, Kings of Leon, Richard Thompson and The Jayhawks. We also had Jenny Lee Rice writing about Angola’s “Incarceration Station” and Aaron Belz’s declaring that Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Steely Dan.
Pete Yorn graced the cover of Issue #5, which also saw the advent of our 4 to Watch (now called Best of What’s Next.) I’m still proud of the fact that I was the first national journalist to write about a little country band from Atlanta called Sugarland. We had feature profiles of Gillian Welch, Jary Farrar and Bruce Cockburn, among others. But my favorite article in this issue was Lynne Margolis’s story on the Last of the Mississippi Jukes.
For Issue #6—our first bimonthly issue covering Oct/Nov—longtime Paste writer Tom Lanham wrote a lengthy profile of Rufus Wainwright on the release of my favorite album of 2003, Want One. We also ran features on Emmylou Harris, Burning Spear, Joe Henry, Guided by Voices, Over the Rhine and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. We looked at 25 reasons to hope for the future of music, from new technologies like satellite radio and the iPod to festivals like All Tomorrow’s Parties. And Aaron Belz continued his Lyric column with a look at the Mountain Goats.
Sarah McLachlan appeared on the cover of Issue #7, spanning December 2003 and January 2004 with interior features on John Mayer, Paul Westerberg and The Thrills, along with our Best Albums and Books of 2003. Our Four to Watch included Alexi Murdoch and Hayes Carll. And we said goodbye to Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer.