Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Tweedy’

During the enforced idleness of the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people hatched ambitious plans: reading unreadable books, mastering a language, baking virtuous sourdough. For Jeff Tweedy, the global crisis truncated a Wilco tour, and he found himself at home with his family. His son Spencer lives at home anyway, and his other son, Sammy, returned from New York to do remote schooling.

Tweedy had tuned in to the discussion about creativity during times of quarantine, and had learned (the arguable fact) that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while sheltering from the plague. What to do? Well, in times of stress, as in all times, Tweedy’s habit is to visit his Chicago studio, The Loft. There, he planned to write a country album named after Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, producing a song a day.

“Love Is The King” is not that record. Tantalisingly, Tweedy suggests that a number of straightforward country-style songs were recorded before his own instincts started to kick in. True, if Shakespeare had gone countrypolitan, he might have taken his sense of jeopardy, his troubled masculinity, his interest in tempests as an emotional metaphor and created something similar. “Ripeness is all,” says Edgar in King Lear. “Oh, tomatoes right off the vine,” croons Tweedy in “Guess Again”, “we used to eat them like that all the time.”

This album marries Tweedy’s mature emotional outlook (love is all, and is a dream worth dreaming) to the workaday manners of Uncle Tupelo or the Woody Guthrie project, Mermaid Avenue. There’s a home video lurking on YouTube of Tweedy sitting on his sofa, strumming his way through Talking Heads’ “Heaven”. The sound of Love Is The King is what you’d expect from the bar band in that song: briskly functional, with an enduring tension between Tweedy’s balmy vocals and the electric guitar, which arrives in these songs like a deluge.

“I always think that the electric guitar player, who’s me, is the guy who’s having the toughest time dealing with everything,” Tweedy tells says. “He’s a little bit frayed. He showed up for a different type of session, his nerves are getting the better of him.”

Occasionally, broader influences seep through. The playful “Gwendolyn” has the wayward electricity of the Faces, and a heroine who sounds the sort of paramour the young Rod Stewart might have conquered and regretted. For Tweedy it acknowledges his habit of finding himself several steps behind a woman, emotionally. The title track has a languid rhythm that is almost obliterated by the guitar, and a lyric that marries the Lear-like outlook of the narrator (“At the edge/Of as bad as it gets”), to flashes of current affairs; tanks in the streets and violence.

That mood spills into “Opaline”, a honky-tonk lament that playfully blurs images of death, paranoia and dread. The inspiration for the song is more prosaic. The lyric is addressed to a golden orb-weaver spider that lived in Tweedy’s backyard through spring and summer before abruptly disappearing, presumed dead. The song’s most troubling image, of a hearse stuck at a toll gate, actually happened. Tweedy saw the funeral car, parked in its own metaphor, when escaping Chicago via the skyway to Michigan. “I kept looking in my rear-view mirror, thinking, ‘Holy shit, that’s one of the worst things I can think of,’” he says with a laugh. “A guy driving a hearse with no change for a toll.”

On paper, it sounds tormented. In reality, it doesn’t. As a singer, Tweedy patrols the trunk road between regret and resilience. Straight-legged sincerity, when he chooses to use it, is a good look: see the thankful love song “Even I Can See”Tweedy is probably more instinctively comfortable undermining himself, as on the countrified “Natural Disaster”. That song’s image of “a lightning bolt punch a bird right out of the sky” may be a nod to the sudden death of a flamingo in Charles Portis’s book The Dog Of The South. On a further literary note, Tweedy’s pal, author George Saunders, provides a couple of lines to the sprightly “A Robin Or A Wren”, a song that manages to roll together romantic devotion, love of life, fear of death, and a playful suggestion of reincarnation. Saunders’ lines are about “the end of the end of this beautiful dream”. 

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Tweedy, with his unerring ability to find himself while getting lost, ushers in a conclusion that is happy and sad, with hope kept aflame by his faith in the power of song. No matter what he does with Wilco or solo, simply one of the best songwriters alive. His lyrics are poetry. His vocal delivery invites you in and is so vulnerable. I like this a bit better than Warm, which was also brilliant. This is just another in a string of albums from artists over the pandemic that have blown me away this year.

Released October 23rd, 2020

All songs written by Jeff Tweedy
except “A Robin Or A Wren” written by Jeff Tweedy and George Saunders
Performed by Jeff Tweedy, Spencer Tweedy, and Sammy Tweedy,

4 litk clear vinyl

It was inside Jeff Tweedy’s second home, The Loft in Chicago, that “Love Is The King” was recorded in April of 2020. Surrounded by an assemblage of treasured instruments and loved ones in a world that felt more and more alien by the day. “Guess Again” is the first single from Jeff Tweedy’s forthcoming album, Tweedy recorded Love Is the King in April at the Loft in Chicago, working with his sons Spencer and Sammy. The album marks his fourth solo album in as many years,

Out on dBpm Records, “Love Is The King“, a “beautifully honest ode to love and hope,” is the follow-up to 2018’s Warm and 2019’s Warmer, and comes on the heels of Tweedy’s second book, How To Write One Song, via Penguin Random House’s Dutton. “At the beginning of the lockdown I started writing country songs to console myself. Folk and country type forms being the shapes that come most easily to me in a comforting way. Guess Again is a good example of the success I was having at pushing the world away, counting my blessings — taking stock in my good fortune to have love in my life,” comments Tweedy.

“Gwendolyn” is the third single from Jeff Tweedy’s forthcoming album Love Is The King.

The album will be released ten days after Tweedy’s second book ‘How To Write One Song’, which is published on Faber Social on October 13th. It follows his 2018 memoir Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back).

“The feeling I get when I write – the sense that time is simultaneously expanding and disappearing – that I’m simultaneously more me and also free of me – is the main reason I wanted to put my thoughts on song-writing down in book form to share with everyone so inclined,” the singer said in a statement.

“A few weeks later things began to sound like Love Is The King — a little more frayed around the edges with a lot more fear creeping in. Still hopeful but definitely discovering the limits of my own ability to self soothe.” –Jeff Tweedy.

Label dBpm Records Released 15/01/21

On Tuesday, Jeff Tweedy announced the release of his fourth solo record, Love Is The King, due out on October 23rd via dPm Records. The album serves as the follow up to 2018’s WARM and 2019’s WARMER, and sees the release of two lead singles today, “Guess Again” and the title track.

The release of the album will come on the heels of Tweedy’s second book, How To Write One Song, out October 13th via Penguin Random House. Tweedy will also perform on September 18th in a drive-in concert at the McHenry Outdoor Theater in McHenry, IL. For those who cannot attend the sold-out event, the Wilco frontman will also livestream the concert. Back to the present… Jeff’s announced a new book AND a new album. You might be thinking, “Where does he get all this energy?”. The answer: he’s a self-proclaimed nap enthusiast.

The book’s called How To Write One Song and it will teach you how to do just that. But at its core it’s a how-to guide on creativity and how to stay motivated. How To Write One Song hits bookshelves on October 13th . Preorder US | UK | AUS and you can get a free digital download from Jeff.

A week later (Oct. 23), you’ll hear Jeff’s third solo album, “Love Is The King” – 11 new songs written since touring came to a halt in March. Jeff went to The Loft with his sons, Spencer and Sammy, and came out with a “beautifully honest ode to love and hope” .

Love Is The King was composed by Tweedy, alongside his sons Sammy and Spencer, during the COVID-19 lockdown. Recorded in April 2020, just after Wilco was forced to abandon its North American tour, the song writing process originally began as a challenge where Tweedy tested himself to write a song everyday until he had a whole album.

“At the beginning of the lockdown I started writing country songs to console myself. Folk and country type forms being the shapes that come most easily to me in a comforting way. ‘Guess Again’ is a good example of the success I was having at pushing the world away, counting my blessings — taking stock in my good fortune to have love in my life,” Tweedy said in a press release. “A few weeks later things began to sound like ‘Love Is The King’ — a little more frayed around the edges with a lot more fear creeping in. Still hopeful but definitely discovering the limits of my own ability to self soothe.”

The album’s title track, “Love Is The King”, finds just that mix of melancholy folk song-writing that Tweedy has perfected over several decades. With his dreamy, far-away vocals and simple fingerpicking, “Love Is The King” is relatable to anyone who went through the lockdown process what feels like a lifetime ago. As for “Guess Again”, the song finds a bit more cheerful melody with percussive accompaniment to Tweedy’s acoustic guitar. The lyrics also present a brighter reality that shows, even though things are bleak now, that hope still shines through the love of another.

“Love Is The King” and “Guess Again” from Jeff Tweedy’s forthcoming album, Love Is The King, due out on October 23rd.

Speaking of a throwback, you may have heard: We’re giving “Summerteeth” a deluxe makeover. The new package shines inside and out.

It’s got more than 40 bonus tracks including demos, alternate takes on the Summerteeth classics and live performances. These boxsets reimagine the original artwork in a metallic finish and include fresh liner notes drawn from recent conversations with Jeff and John. You’re gonna want this one in your collection, trust us.

Preorder it here and you can expect it on your doorstep November. 6th. Meanwhile; Wilco’s illustrious career hit a milestone in 2016, with the release of their 10th studio album “Schmilco.” They packed smaller venues during a fall tour to celebrate, including a run at The Theatre at Ace Hotel. We captured a private performance — stage set and all — at the Theatre, and it showcases a band at the peak of their powers. Rewatch this career-spanning set.

In the midst of three sold out shows in LA, Wilco set aside an afternoon to record a special live session for KCRW at The Theatre at Ace Hotel.

Wilco’s illustrious career hit a milestone in 2016, with the release of their 10th studio album “Schmilco.” They packed smaller venues during a fall tour to celebrate, including a run at The Theatre at Ace Hotel. We captured a private performance — stage set and all — at the Theatre, and it showcases a band at the peak of their powers.

Re-watch this career-spanning set.

Set List: 0:00 If I Ever Was a Child 2:53 Cry All Day 7:12 The Joke Explained 9:45 Someone to Lose 12:55 Dawned On Me 16:27 Impossible Germany 23:25 We Aren’t The World (Safety Girl) 26:04 The Late Greats

Summerteeth deluxejpg

Wilco’s third album “Summerteeth” is Rhino Record’s latest offering in 2020’s holiday box set season. A 4CD and 5LP edition of the 1999 release, packed with unreleased material, will be issued November 6th.

Wilco have announced that their third LP, 1999’s Summerteeth, will be receiving the Deluxe Edition treatment, set for a November. 6th release. The updated and expanded edition will come in a four-CD or five-LP set.

The four-CD version included a remastered version of the original album and “an entire disc of unreleased studio outtakes, alternate versions and demos that chart the making of the album from song writing demos to alternate studio arrangements to finished masters.” (Quote via press release.) The remaining two discs will be dedicated to a never-before-released live show: “The concert took place late in the Summerteeth tour, on November 1st, 1999 in Colorado at The Boulder Theatre, when the new songs had been road-tested and the band was in top form. Sourced from an uncirculated soundboard recording, it features band members Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Ken Coomer and Jay Bennett.” (Press release.)

The 5-LP vinyl version will not include the Colorado show; instead, it will feature “a special, exclusive performance from early 1999 titled ‘An Unmitigated Disaster,’ a previously unreleased live in-store performance at Tower Records on March 11th, 1999, just two days after the album was released.” (Quote via press release.) The show will only be available in the LP set.

Both physical and digital formats feature a brand-new remaster of the original album by Bob Ludwig, plus two dozen previously unreleased demos, outtakes and alternate versions. Each set features an unreleased live show as well: the CD featuring an extended, soundboard-sourced set at Colorado’s Boulder Theatre recorded on November 1st, 1999 (well into the band’s tour to promote the album), while the LP includes a Tower Records gig in Chicago the week of Summerteeth‘s release, broadcast on radio station WXRT-FM and labeled here as An Unmitigated Disaster. A “Slow Rhodes Version” of the title track, included on the outtakes set,

Recorded through 1997 and 1998 in Willie Nelson’s Texas recording studio and Chicago’s Kingsize Soundlabs – during which, separately, Wilco recorded and released Mermaid Avenue with Billy Bragg, consisting of unused Woody Guthrie lyrics – the follow-up to 1996’s Being There was markedly different from anything Wilco had ever released. Most of the tunes were written by Jeff Tweedy and company in the studio, and for the first time, the band achieved their desired sound with overdubs. While Summerteeth didn’t outsell Being There, it was critically lauded, making No. 8 on the Village Voice‘s annual Pazz & Jop poll that year.

The deluxe Summerteeth features revisited cover artwork with metallic foil packaging by the band’s Grammy-winning art director Lawrence Azerrad. The band’s official store will also sell a limited colour-vinyl edition of the LP box, topping out at 2000 copies. (The general vinyl box will also be limited to 6500 copies.)

Summerteeth Reissue

Over the last few decades, it’s becoming increasingly harder to talk about the life and legacy of Uncle Tupelo without the conversation falling down one of the many rabbit holes of the band’s ever-expanding mythos.

By now, most everyone knows the more substantial high points of the band’s dynamic yet short-lived arc. Founding members Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy, and Mike Heidorn started playing together in high school in a mid-’80s Belleville, Illinois, band called The Primitives that eventually became Uncle Tupelo after their lead singer (Farrar’s brother, Wade) quit the band and headed to college. The trio played heavily around Illinois and Missouri (especially at St. Louis staples Cicero’s and Mississippi Nights), eventually got an indie label record deal, released three celebrated albums, expanded to a five-piece, got picked up by a major label, released their fourth album, and subsequently imploded due to the mounting creative differences and personal tensions between co-frontmen Farrar and Tweedy. In the aftermath of Uncle Tupelo’s breakup, both artists went on to form the highly influential (and still going strong) bands Son Volt and Wilco, while their original work with Uncle Tupelo has garnered the legacy of being —depending on whom you ask — either just one of a number of genre pioneers that carried forward older music to younger generations or the standalone patient zero for the entire alt-country/Americana/modern roots music movement.

However, on this occasion, the 30th anniversary of Uncle Tupelo’s debut album, No Depression (released June 21st, 1990, on Rockville Records), there will be no attempts at encapsulating all of the “which came first, the genre or the band” equivocations. Instead, we decided to mark the milestone with some specificity, foregoing the conventional family tree retrospective in favour of a reflection on what is arguably one of the most shadow-casting records of the 20th century. To do so, we went directly to the source, speaking with Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy to get their insights and recollections on three decades of their career-starting (if not career-defining) debut release.

“Has it only been 30 years?” laughs Tweedy, a little stunned, a little tongue-in-cheek. “Like most important events, it somehow simultaneously feels like a lifetime ago and also … boy, that went fast!” Perhaps underscoring the “opposites attract” theme that is at the most foundational level of their complexly layered relationship, Farrar’s reaction to the anniversary is delivered with a bit more middle-of-the-road measuredness: “Honestly, some time has passed but it doesn’t really feel like it’s been that long. It’s just gratifying that anyone wants to talk about what we did 30 years ago.”

While that last comment might elicit a chuckle from anyone familiar with the everlasting supply of appreciative wistfulness and heated debates that has surrounded the individual and collective impacts of Farrar and Tweedy within the roots music community, there is a point to be made about the “subject to change” legacies of landmark albums and the fickle nature of pop cultural attention spans. There will always be a certain element of musical fandom that is asking “What’s next?”, while another, competing thread is turning the conversation from present-day movements back to the music that came before them. In the case of Uncle Tupelo, and especially their No Depression album, the attempt to address both can be found in their unconventional hybrid of self-penned song writing and encyclopedically referential musical influences that were blended together in ways that allowed the band to function as both creators and conduits.

“We didn’t come up with that whole ‘Woody Guthrie meets Hüsker Dü’ thing. That was probably some publicist along the way,” Farrar says. “Although, it wasn’t that far off. We were fans of Hüsker Dü and certainly there were musical similarities. Lyrically, from Woody Guthrie and essentially Bob Dylan too, we were inspired to think about societal issues and what was going on around us. So, we just put all those things into our songs.” Prime examples of this amalgam can be found on No Depression tracks like “Graveyard Shift,” “Factory Belt,” “Outdone,” and “Train,” where the band mixes the growling guitars and aggressive start-stop rhythms of their punk and indie rock influences with the country and folk-influenced lyrical themes of working-class desperation, economic struggle, anti-war sentiments, down-and-out isolation, and alcohol-soaked small-town blues.

“There were lots of bands — X, The Knitters, Jason and the Scorchers, Green on Red, so many more — already kind of fusing these two worlds that we were straddling,” says Tweedy. “I think our approach to it might have been a little bit more isolated and unrefined. Maybe it came out more punk rock or something, but I think anybody that credits us with inventing anything is wrong.” To further make the point, Tweedy points to the genre-blurring activities of some of his favourite ’60s bands: “We thought there was something boldly punk rock about The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Rolling Stones. To us,

Shortly after inking a record deal with Rockville Records in late 1989, Uncle Tupelo kicked off 1990 by traveling to Boston in the dead of winter to record their debut album at Fort Apache recording studio with famed alternative/college rock producers Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie. At the time, the celebrated production duo had already amassed an impressive recording resume that included Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., Throwing Muses, Blake Babies, and more. (After recording No Depression, Slade and Kolderie would go on to produce Uncle Tupelo’s second record, Still Feel Gone, as well as multiplatinum albums for Radiohead, Hole, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and others).

“Of all the records that Paul and Sean had worked on to that point, I think the Dinosaur Jr. stuff would probably have been the biggest persuader for us,” admits Tweedy. “Being a production team that had worked on records that we actually owned, I think we were really surprised that they would want to work with us. I remember running through the first take of whatever we tried to do on the first day in the studio and Paul coming out and saying ‘Oh, good. You guys can play.’ I don’t think anybody had ever said that to us before.”

“As soon as we met Sean and Paul, there was such a good working camaraderie between us,” Farrar says. “They helped us get some really good guitar sounds and helped us flesh things out in terms of the finished recording being more than just doing what we normally did live. We were blown away when they brought in Rich Gilbert to play pedal steel on ‘Whiskey Bottle’ because that was an instrument that we hadn’t had the opportunity to record with before. He’s also playing that apocalyptic noise part at the end of ‘Factory Belt’ — just doing sweeps up and down the pedal steel with his slide.”

When it came time to package their newly recorded songs into a proper album, the band once again chose to wear its influences on its sleeve. Not only did they create a minimalist album cover aesthetic that mimicked releases from Moe Asch’s midcentury Folkways Records catalogue, but they also titled the album No Depression after the traditional Depression-era folksong “No Depression in Heaven” that is often attributed to the legendary Carter Family. (While they were the first to record it, there is some speculation that A.P. Carter “found” the song more than “wrote” it himself). Uncle Tupelo had also recorded a cover of the song for the album, surprising many by foregoing the buzzier, bombastic side of their sound for a more true-to-form acoustic folk number. The folksy, back porch singalong vibe can also be found on No Depression tracks “Life Worth Livin’” and “Screen Door,” with Farrar adding mandolin to the former and Tweedy swapping out his bass for an acoustic guitar on the latter.

When asked where they got the idea to cover “No Depression,” both Farrar and Tweedy tell the same origin story and make the same point of clarification. Remembers Farrar, “I was digging through my mom’s record collection and found this old folk compilation that had ‘No Depression’ on it. I thought the song really resonated with the themes of Midwest isolation that we often explored, plus it passed the test with Jeff and Mike since it sounded like something Woody Guthrie would’ve done. Though, I should add this was the New Lost City Ramblers version.”

Tweedy gives a similar account, adding, “We really owe a debt to the first folk revival wave from the late ’50s, early ’60s. Years later, I actually got to thank John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers for that when we crossed paths at Newport for this Harry Smith anthology reissue benefit show that Wilco played.”

Since the release of No Depression, both Farrar and Tweedy have each built impressive catalogues of releases between their respective bands and solo albums. Both are also still extremely active in the scene they helped to shape; just last year, Son Volt released Union, Wilco released Ode to Joy, and Tweedy released his second solo album, Warmer. However, there’s a good chance that neither artist will ever fully outstep the larger shadow of what they created together on No Depression. This seems true for both their live shows — “‘Graveyard Shift’ is one that’s been requested a lot over the years,” says Farrar; while Tweedy admits “‘Screen Door’ still gets requested quite frequently when I play solo shows, and although I’m not a big fan of the song, I’m also pretty sanguine about the notion of something surviving that long” — as well as for how the album seems to be a template by which all of their other works are somehow measured in various ways.

In fact, that “long time” Tweedy references might’ve been the majority, if not entirety, of Uncle Tupelo’s run; as the band’s highest accolades and genre pioneering respects only started popping up in the wake of their breakup in May 1994. As Uncle Tupelo drummer Mike Heidorn told the Los Angeles Times in early 1996 (at the time, he was playing drums in Farrar’s new band, Son Volt), “Uncle Tupelo is bigger now than ever… I guess death is a great career move.” These days, Farrar expresses some of the same sentiments on that post-mortem timeline: “It must’ve started to some degree around late ’94 or so when we had this vague understanding of an online chat group that had been built around mutual fans of the band.

Both Farrar and Tweedy acknowledge they haven’t sat with No Depression, the album, in quite some time, with the latter even stating, “It’s hard for me to really embrace the first record because I don’t think I had found my voice yet.” However, they both seem to take a mutual sense of pride in the hand-me-down musical ambassadorship inherent in their earliest work’s legacy. Reflects Tweedy, “In hindsight, it’s a thrilling thing to feel that you got to be a part of the actual tradition of sharing this particular knowledge with people that might not have come to it as quickly or maybe would have not even been introduced to it at all.”

In the case of Uncle Tupelo’s No Depression turning 30 years old, Tweedy seems to get the most impassioned when thinking back on not what they were making at the time, but what they were learning — both about themselves and also about the world around them.

“I just remember this overwhelming feeling that Jay and I would talk about getting from listening to folk music and country music, and speaking for myself personally, it was like having the veil pulled back and realizing that the world has always been weird. The world has always been scary. So, when people choose to express themselves with music, it can also be completely untamed. It’s not always shaped by fashion or commercial viability or anything like that; people just want to express themselves with words and noise and sound. That’s what I think we were discovering in Uncle Tupelo.

Tonight Wilco released a brand new song entitled “Tell Your Friends” after frontman Jeff Tweedy performed a lovely performance of “Jesus, Etc.” for Colbert. The new track definitely captures the spirit of present times and has a smooth chill vibe to it that could’ve fit on their most recent album, Ode To Joy“Tell Your Friends” is currently available to stream on their Bandcamp, with all proceeds being donated to World Central Kitchen.

Last Wednesday night, Wilco performed their uplifting new single “Tell Your Friends” for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and then also shared a studio version of the song, which encourages us all to connect with family while under quarantine. The purchases of the song, which is exclusively on Bandcamp, will go to World Central Kitchen, an organization who provides meals in the wake of natural disasters.

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The performance showed each band member in their respective homes. Alongside friends and family, Tweedy sings: “Don’t forget to tell your friends/When you see them again/O’ I love you/O’ I love you.”

This a song for everyone, Tweedy said in a press release. “We miss each other. So we wrote a song about it to sing with each other, to sing to each other.”

Tell Your Friends by Wilco ! Our friends in Wilco graciously chose The Late Show as the place for their debut performance of “Tell Your Friends,” which is available for download at http://www.wilcohq.bandcamp.com. All proceeds will be donated to World Central Kitchen

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When Americana pioneers Uncle Tupelo released their major-label debut, “Anodyne” on October 5th, 1993, it should have been the beginning of something big. They were following up their left-turn acoustic record, March 16-20, 1992, recorded with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, with their best record yet

Recorded live in the studio amid mounting tension between singer / songwriters Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy, “Anodyne” proved to be Uncle Tupelo’s last and finest album. These final sessions find Farrar and Tweedy crafting a seamless mesh of country, folk and rock that both encompasses and exceeds the range of previous albums.

Anodyne smoothed the jarring, start-stop rhythms of the band’s first two records, No Depression and Still Feel Gone, into a straight-ahead steamroll behind new drummer Ken Coomer. Farrar’s barbed guitar riffs sear on “Chickamauga,” where he compares a crumbling relationship to a Civil War bloodbath. Quieter moments such as the title track flex the strength of new multi-instrumentalist Max Johnston, who played dobro, banjo and fiddle, and former guitar tech John Stirratt, who held down bass when Tweedy switched to guitar.

With the straight-up country of Acuff-rose (a tribute to the famed songwriting duo), and the folky New Madrid, Tupelo displays the traditional leanings found on March 16-20, 1992, while both the bass-heavy The Long Cut and the barnstorming Chickamauga broaden the punk-tinged sound of No Depression and Still Feel Gone. While Anodyne also features a raucous collaboration with the late Doug Sahm on Give Back the Key to My Heart, its most transcendent moments are the world-weary Slate and the sublime title track, one of the most beautifully bittersweet songs penned since Neil Young’s Helpless. Although anodyne proved to be the end of the line for Uncle Tupelo, it opened up more expansive roads for Farrar and Tweedy,

Eventually, the friction between lifelong friends Farrar and Tweedy brought down the band at their biggest moment. Tweedy rushed the remaining members of Uncle Tupelo into the studio to record Wilco’s 1995 debut A.M., while Farrar took the long cut and found success with the hit single “Drown” on Son Volt’s Trace a year later.

Farrar has continued to wrestle with obscure, early country and folk music and his textured guitar wranglings over eight solid albums. Wilco has evolved from a Tupelo-twin to an engine of reinvention, from the deconstructionist country-rock of 1996’s Being There to the shimmering heartbreak of 1999’s Summerteeth and 2001’s experimental Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

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There’s nothing cheerful about Wilco’s weary new release, “Ode to Joy”, but Jeff Tweedy’s sullen, even sardonic, songs on the band’s 11th studio album are no less appreciable for their dark matter. The decaying guitar tones, sorrowful flourishes, and incessant stomp of “Bright Leaves” sets the tone from the outset, as Tweedy sings, “I never change/You never change.” Some songs here are personal (“Hold Me Anyway”), others political (“Citizens”), but Wilco accompanies them all the same with their incredible chemistry and a restrained instrumentation that keeps Tweedy’s questions front and center. “I blow my horn for the whole band,” he sings.

“Ode to Joy” is Wilco’s eleventh studio album, and it seems informed by maturity, which is less a newfound dimension than a deepening of the band’s growth over the past decade. Jeff Tweedy’s relative calm in the face of turmoil is the defining force underlying the record, and it’s clear from the outset: his vocals on opener “Bright Leaves” sound like they were recorded as the rest of the room was napping. The song appears to address his marriage; that topic would have been mined for something caustic and even sinister on, say, Summerteeth, but here it is marveled at for its consistency and durability, warts and all. This isn’t head-in-the-sand naiveté, but rather a calculated effort to shun the grim perspectives Wilco may once have embraced.

Everyone’s perennial alt-rock favorites Wilco just want to feel joyful. Is that so much to ask? In 2019’s dire, dreary political climate, maybe it is. Maybe we should risk our individual happinesses to better our community; maybe there’s a way to materialize that joy into political action. That’s the central tension in the band’s song, “Love Is Everywhere (Beware),” It’s the lead single from their newly announced 11th album, “Ode to Joy”.

Ode to Joy – Wilco’s 11th studio album – released October. 4th , 2019 via dBpm Records. The album features 11 new songs written and produced by Jeff Tweedy and recorded by Wilco at The Loft (Chicago, IL) in January 2019. “Love is Everywhere (Beware)” is the first single from the album release.

Wilco

Ode To Joy. Featuring 11 new songs written and produced by Tweedy and recorded by Wilco at The Loft (Chicago, IL) in January 2019, Tweedy and Glenn Kotche were the launching pad from which most of the songs on Ode To Joy materialized – Kotche’s percussion propels the music forward while Tweedy’s measured words flesh out the cleared paths. As a result, the album is comprised of “really big, big folk songs, these monolithic, brutal structures that these delicate feelings are hung on,” notes Tweedy. Across the entire album, drums pound and plod with a steady one – two pulse, meant to mimic the movement of marching – a powerful act utilized on both sides of the authoritarian wall. There’s also a sense of comfort that comes with the rhythmic marching sound.

The album largely does away with conventional rock and folk song structures; instead, it embraces spare, impressionistic arrangements—often led by booming, elemental percussion—to create one of the moodiest and most haunting records in Wilco’s catalog, more movingly understated than the experimental Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and darker than the uptempo Americana of Sky Blue Sky“For this record, we tried to intuit rock music pretending we hadn’t heard any…we’d tell each other what we wanted to hear,” Tweedy says. And while he is quick to acknowledge that the band didn’t exactly “reinvent rock music,” it does sound, to a certain degree, like they reinvented Wilco. As Ode to Joy makes clear, from the tense and restrained opening track “Bright Leaves”—which hangs glimmering sonic textures on thumping drums like ornaments on a Christmas tree—all the way through “An Empty Corner,” the mysterious heart-wrenching waltz that closes the album, Wilco have built nothing less than a world unto itself;

“Ode to Joy” Wilco’s 11th studio album – will be released October. 4th, 2019 via dBpm Records. The album features 11 new songs written and produced by Jeff Tweedy and recorded by Wilco at The Loft (Chicago, IL) in January 2019. “Everyone Hides” is the second single from the forthcoming release.