A highlight of my career as a music journalist was being asked to write liner notes to a box set of music by my all-time favorite singer and songwriter, Phil Ochs — and then getting a Grammy nomination for my work.
I’d long been fascinated by the tale of Naomi Wise, murdered by her lover in a river near my hometown. In 2021, No Depression magazine gave me the opportunity to explore this legend that’s become an iconic American folk ballad, covered by artists ranging from Doc Watson to Bob Dylan.
“Phil Ochs was like Lenny Bruce – he just totally uncensored himself. He wrote the songs nobody else would.” — Butch Hancock