Posts Tagged ‘Mike Heidorn’

Wide Swing Tremolo

Following the break-up of Americana standard-bearers Uncle Tupelo, singer-songwriter Jay Farrar and drummer Mike Heidorn recruited brothers Dave and Jim Boquist to form a new group – Son Volt – and signed to Warner Bros. The band’s third collection for the label, “Wide Swing Tremolo”, finds them leaning more toward the alternative side of alt-country,

From the vital drive of the opener with its distorted longing and its strained angst to the acoustic pulse of later tracks make this album a landmark in the now overpopulated landscape of country rock. The horror and fear that is all over “Jodel” gives way to the religious zealotry of Medicine Hat but redemption is found on the second half with the straight take on the country rocker that is Right On Through. If Question doesn’t get your foot tapping whilst making your head spin then you haven’t converted to the gospel of country and let me tell you, you’re missing out. Every generation an album arrives that signals a new direction and those who don’t see it will be left behind.

With energetic guitar rockers like “Straightface” and “Medicine Hat” practically jumping out of the speakers, even if Farrar’s enigmatic lyrics sometimes provide dark undercurrents. WIDE SWING TREMOLO was the final studio album from Son Volt’s original line-up, and we’ll crank it up now to celebrate the set’s 20th anniversary.

Wide Swing Tremolo is a wide-open, rocking album with precious little of the overt country influences found on previous Son Volt works. Instead, this album is driven by R.E.M.-like arpeggio guitar riffs and muscular, warm rhythms. It’s a strong album.

Record Store Day 2018 will sweep America’s record shops, bringing with it performances, parties, and plenty of drool-worthy new and exclusives releases.  Uncle Tupelo (the band that predated and eventually morphed into Wilco) will release No Depression – Demos on Record Store Day. Previously released as disc two of the 2014 deluxe reissue of the landmark 1990 album, this marks the first time these tracks will be available on vinyl. Legacy will press 3000 copies.

One release we’re particularly excited about is Uncle Tupelo’s No Depression (Demos). the site and publication No Depression originally got its name from that 1990 album from Uncle Tupelo, a history former ND editor Kim Ruehl outlined in a recent piece for the Columbia Journalism Review.

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Referencing ND founding editor Peter Blackstock, Ruehl writes, “Blackstock occasionally participated in an online message board called NoDepression.AltCountry, named for the 1993 debut album of Midwest alt-country group Uncle Tupelo (who had, in turn, named their inaugural recording, No Depression, for a song The Carter Family had recorded a half-century earlier, during the Great Depression).”

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Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy, and Mike Heidorn formed the group Uncle Tupelo after the lead singer of their previous band, The Primitives, left to attend college. The trio recorded three albums for Rockville Records, before signing with Sire Records and expanding to a five-piece. Shortly after the release of the band’s major label debut album Anodyne, Farrar announced his decision to leave the band due to a soured relationship with his co-songwriter Tweedy. Uncle Tupelo split on May 1, 1994, after completing a farewell tour. Following the breakup, Farrar formed Son Volt with Heidorn, while the remaining members continued as Wilco. Although Uncle Tupelo broke up before it achieved commercial success, the band is renowned for its impact on the alternative country music scene. The group’s first album, No Depression, became a byword for the genre and was widely influential. Uncle Tupelo’s sound was unlike popular country music of the time, drawing inspiration from styles as diverse as the hardcore punk of The Minutemen and the country instrumentation and harmony of the Carter Family and Hank Williams. Farrar and Tweedy lyrics frequently referred to Middle America and the working class of Belleville.

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This Record Store Day release features a handful of exclusives, including a 1988 demo of the title track, which has never before been released on vinyl. Check out more details and a track list for No Depression (Demos) here.

Released in 1990, Uncle Tupelo’s debut album No Depression was a genuine milestone in American rock and roll, a striking fusion of traditional folk and country with post-punk innovation and hardcore ferocity. For the first time on vinyl, fans can hear Jeff Tweedy, Jay Farrar and Mike Heidorn’s legendary demo tape Not Forever, Just For Now, recorded in 1989, plus a demo of “No Depression” recorded a year earlier.

Side A 1. Outdone [1989 Demo] 2. That Year [1989 Demo] 3. Whiskey Bottle [1989 Demo] 4. Flatness [1989 Demo] 5. I Got Drunk [1989 Demo]
Side B 1. Before I Break [1989 Demo] 2. Life Worth Living [1989 Demo] 3. Train [1989 Demo] 4. Graveyard Shift [1989 Demo] 5. Screen Door [1989 Demo] 6. No Depression [1988 Demo]