Posts Tagged ‘Uncle Tupelo’

You could say that 2013’s “Honky Tonk” was Son Volt’s “country” album, and the group’s latest is its “blues” album. Reality is rarely that cut and dried, however. So it’s probably best to say that the new “Notes Of Blue” on Thirty Tigers  toys with the achy bluster of ’90s Son Volt—though within an intermittent blues framework. “Overall, the end result winds up being more of an exploration of how various styles intersect with the blues,” says Jay Farrar of the band’s eighth studio release.

Twenty-two years ago, Son Volt kicked off Farrar’s post-Uncle Tupelo run with a definitive bang. Equal to or greater than anything his former group could muster, Trace has been a tough act to follow and it doesn’t help that the album sounds as wrenchingly relevant now as it did in 1995.

As if to simultaneously acknowledge and contain Trace’s considerable shadow, Farrar embarked on a series of subdued shows in 2015 to promote an expanded 20th-anniversary reissue. This was not the Son Volt of old. “It was a good opportunity to reassess those songs and present them in a different way,” says Jay Farrar of his last tour.

Self-produced with help from the revered John AgnelloNotes Of Blue actually benefits from some bait-and-switch tactics. After opening with a pair of tunes—“Promise The World” and “Back Against The Wall”—that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Trace, Farrar abruptly puts on his blues big-boy pants for a series of songs that are as much a departure from the SV formula as you’re likely to hear. On “Cherokee Street,” “Midnight” and the skull-rattling “Static” and “Lost Souls,” Farrar’s sheer determination to work within the limitations of the idiom—the alternate tunings; the simple, succinct lyrics addressing sin, struggle, escape and redemption—actually frees him up to explore new instrumental textures and vocal approaches. Nothing dramatic, mind you just enough to signal growth and evolution for a guy who just turned 50.

To keep things honest, Farrar adhered to the tunings of Mississippi Fred McDowell and Skip James, even cribbing lyrical snippets from old blues numbers as starting points. For further inspiration, he turned to the ragged rural beauty witnessed in the field recordings of music historian George Mitchell (think R.L. Burnside). “The guys at Fat Possum gave me that box set years ago,” says Farrar. “It’s that cross-pollination over centuries that sparks such creativity in music.”

On Notes Of Blue, it all comes together with ferocious perfection on “Sinking Down,” courtesy of Farrar’s darkly orchestral slide guitar and a relief valve of a bridge that emerges with all the beauty of an unexpected vista on a long, unrelenting drive through our country’s Trump-crazed midsection. “After doing those acoustic Trace shows, I definitely wanted to get back to playing some electric guitar,” says Farrar. “I even brought out the Webster Chicago amp used in the photograph for Trace, and this is also the first time I’ve played lead since Trace. So there’s a thread of continuity there.”

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.

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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.

As a founding member and leader of the American rock band Wilco, and before that the co-founder of the alt-country band Uncle Tupelo, Chicago-based Jeff Tweedy is one of contemporary American music’s most accomplished songwriters, musicians and performers. His memoir, LET’S GO (SO WE CAN GET BACK): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc., was released last year.

Through his pioneering work in the legendary country-punk band, Uncle Tupelo, to his enduring legacy as the creative force behind the unclassifiable sound of Wilco, Jeff Tweedy has weaved his way between the underground and the mainstream – and back again. Funny, disarming, and deeply honest, his memoir casts light on his unique creative process and the stories that shaped his life and career, from a childhood spent in Illinois to the release of the bands album “No Depression” in the early 90’s – which set the blueprint for alt-country – and later working with Mavis Staples and, posthumously, Woody Guthrie. (Rough Trade BOOKS OF THE YEAR)

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The book delves deeper into the creative development of one of the greatest American songwriters on his generation than any interview or biography I’ve read about Jeff Tweedy. The guy is honest, dishonest, candid, flippant, coherent, rambling, sometimes all on the same page.

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Jeff opens up about the development of his writing style, making the understanding of the Wilco albums greater than any journalist review ever could. In fact the only flaw I would throw at this book is that it is almost too revealing about the personal lows Jeff has experienced in the troubled phases of the Wilco era. I’m sure it will hardly appeal to anyone unfamiliar with Tweedy’s output, which is sad as Jeff’s contribution to recorded music  in general is as vital as anyone else I’ve ever heard.

Legacy Recordings Announces Eclectic Assortment Of Collectible 7″, 12″ Vinyl and Cassette Titles For Record Store Day 2018

Legacy Recordings, the catalog arm of Sony Music, has announced the titles its releasing for this year’s Record Store Day, which will take place on April 21st 2018.

A press release notes that it’s the most number of albums the label has issued in the 11 years that Record Store Day has taken place. Among this year’s offerings are limited-edition releases by such artists as AC/DC, Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen.

Pink Floyd are reissuing their debut, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, on mono vinyl for the first time in 50 years. Bruce Springsteen will see his 1995 Greatest Hits compilation issued on individually numbered red vinyl, while AC/DC’s Back in Black will be sold on cassette. The document of the 1987 tour by Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead, Dylan & the Dead, will be sold on red and blue tie-dye vinyl.

Legacy Recordings also revealed that the Allman Brothers Band’s Live at the Atlanta Pop Festival, July 3 & 5, 1970, one of their most famous concerts prior to their At Fillmore East breakthrough, will be available for the first time on vinyl, with four discs housed in a box set with eight pages of notes and photos. A similar treatment has been given to Jeff Buckley’s Live at Sin-é: Legacy Edition.

Johnny Cash’s legendary At Folsom Prison is coming out in a special five-LP collection that combines the entirety of both sets Cash performed that day, as well as performances by June Carter, Carl Perkins and the Statler Brothers. Included in the package is a 12″ single of rehearsals the band ran through at a Sacramento, Calif., hotel the night before the shows and an eight-page 12″ x 12″ booklet.

Live sets by Living Colour (Live at CBGB’s, 12.19.89), Rage Against the Machine (Democratic National Convention 2000), Elvis Presley (The King in the Ring — the acoustic sets of his 1968 comeback special), Soul Asylum (Live From Liberty Lunch, Austin, TX, December 3, 1992), Hot Tuna (Live at the New Orleans House) and Big Audio Dynamite II(On the Road Live ’92) will also receive their premiere vinyl release.

Legacy is also putting out a pair of 7″ singles for Record Store Day: Jimi Hendrix’s “Mannish Boy” b/w “Trash Man,” both of which come from April 1969 sessions, and a collaboration between Van Morrison and jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco on “Close Enough for Jazz” and “The Things I Used to Do.”

In addition, records by Eurythmics (the 1984 soundtrack), Kenny Loggins (purple vinyl of Return to Pooh Corner) and Uncle Tupelo (No Depression – Demos) will be released.

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The Allman Brothers BandLive At The Atlanta Pop Festival, July 3th & 5th, 1970 (4LP 12” vinyl – Individually Numbered – First Time on Vinyl)

The Allman Brothers Band was one of Georgia’s top live acts still looking for a national break when they were hired to open the three-day Atlanta International Pop Festival. The band’s Southern blues style, bolstered by jams that stretched to epic lengths, won over audiences—and two days later, after legends like Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter and B.B. King took the stage, the Allmans were invited back for a second set. Recorded nearly a year before At Fillmore East established them as one of America’s hottest bands, fans can now discover these landmark nights in Allman Brothers Band history with this individually numbered, limited edition box set, available on vinyl for the first time and packaged in an oversize slipcase with an eight-page booklet of photos and liner notes.

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Big Audio Dynamite II, On The Road Live ’92 (12” Single – First Time on Vinyl)

The Clash’s Mick Jones resurrected Big Audio Dynamite with a new lineup in the early 1990s, releasing The Globe, the band’s best-selling album in America, in 1991. This five-track EP, available for the first time on vinyl, features performances from live dates in Chicago and New York—including a rendition of the band’s U.K. No. 1 single, “Rush.”

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Jeff Buckley, Live At Sin-é: Legacy Edition (4LP 12” vinyl – Individually Numbered – First Time on Vinyl)

In a cramped club on the lower east side of Manhattan, armed with only an electric guitar, Jeff Buckley stunned audiences with his mysterious, emotionally uncompromising live sets, packed with eclectic covers and his own originals. The four-track Live At Sin-é EP, released in 1993, was his debut release for Columbia Records; here, it’s expanded as a numbered, limited edition in a deluxe hard shell slipcase housing four individually designed LP jackets and an eight-page, full-color booklet of photos and liner notes. Live versions of favorites like “Grace,” “Last Goodbye” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” appear here on vinyl for the first time.

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Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison: Legacy Edition (5LP 12” vinyl – Individually Numbered – First Time on Vinyl)

“Hello…I’m Johnny Cash.” With those four words, The Man in Black solidified his legend as outlaw country pioneer with two spirited sets recorded at Folsom State Prison in 1968 and released as At Folsom Prison, one of the most acclaimed live albums of all time. This special box set includes both full concerts available for the first time on vinyl, including performances by June Carter, Carl Perkins and The Statler Brothers. This numbered deluxe package, featuring individually designed LP jackets packaged in a deluxe hard shell slipcase with an eight-page, 12” x 12” booklet, also includes a bonus 12” single featuring previously unreleased audio of Cash and friends rehearsing at the El Rancho Motel in Sacramento, California, the night before the concerts took place.

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Bob Dylan & The Grateful Dead, Dylan & The Dead (LP – Red and Blue Tie-Die Vinyl)

In 1987, two legends joined forces for an unforgettable tour. Now, Dylan & The Dead, featuring The Grateful Dead backing up Bob Dylan on seven of his classic songs, including “All Along The Watchtower,” “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and “Gotta Serve Somebody,” is available on red and blue tie-dye vinyl for a trip unlike any other.

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Jimi Hendrix, Mannish Boy b/w Trash Man (7” Single)

Recorded at New York City’s Record Plant on April 22nd, 1969, this uptempo reworking of Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy” marks Jimi Hendrix’s first recording session with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles—the trio who became known as Band of Gypsys, whose work with Hendrix had a significant impact on his remarkable legacy. First released on Both Sides Of The Sky, a new studio album of rare and unissued Hendrix recordings, “Mannish Boy” is issued here as a 45 RPM single backed with “Trash Man,” an April 3, 1969 studio recording made by the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. “Trash Man” is drawn from Hear My Music, a Dagger Records “official bootleg” album not sold in stores and otherwise only available to fans via jimihendrix.com.

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Van Morrison & Joey DeFrancesco, Close Enough for Jazz b/w The Things I Used to Do (7” Single)

This limited edition 7” single is a collaboration between legendary vocalist Van Morrison and jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco, featuring a new version of Morrison’s “Close Enough for Jazz” and a stunning rendition of Guitar Slim’s “The Things I Used to Do.”

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Pink Floyd, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (Mono) (LP)

The psychedelic debut album by Pink Floyd was their sole album completed with original vocalist/guitarist Syd Barrett and featured the early classic “Interstellar Overdrive.” The original mono version of Pink Floyd’s first LP, named one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, is available on vinyl for the first time in more than 50 years.

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Soul Asylum, Live From Liberty Lunch, Austin, TX, December 3, 1992 (2LP – Previously Unreleased – First Time on Vinyl)

Legacy Recordings’ Live From The Vaults series uncovers rare and unreleased concerts on vinyl, featuring classic bootleg-inspired jacket design with unique, artist-specific outer wraps (OBIs)! This never-before-heard set features Soul Asylum’s hard-driving performance at the legendary Austin venue Liberty Lunch, just months after the release of their breakthrough album Grave Dancers Union.

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Bruce Springsteen, Greatest Hits (2LP – Individually Numbered – Red Vinyl)

Originally released in 1995, Greatest Hits was the first collection of powerful hit singles from the first two decades of Bruce Springsteen’s career—and kicked off an exciting new chapter in his story with three brand-new songs recorded with The E Street Band after nearly a decade apart. Long unavailable on the vinyl format, this individually numbered 2LP set, pressed on red vinyl, is assembled from the brilliant remasters of Springsteen’s discography by Bob Ludwig.

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Uncle Tupelo, No Depression – Demos (LP – First Time on Vinyl)

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 prior.

For full details, visit Record Store Day’s website.

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]

Wilco will reissue their first two albums, A.Mand Being There, on December 1st via Rhino. The new editions will feature an array of bonus tracks, including alternate takes, unreleased songs and live recordings. A live rendition of the band’s gritty and lonesome A.M. track, “Passenger Side,” recorded in Los Angeles in 1996

The deluxe editions of both albums will be released on CD and double LP, while Being There will be released as a five-CD collection or a four LP set. Digital versions of both albums will be available, while limited-edition color vinyl copies can be purchased on the Wilco website.

Following the dissolution of their previous band, Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy, bassist John Stirratt and drummer Ken Coomer helped form Wilco and released their debut album, A.M. in 1995. The new reissue will feature eight unreleased bonus tracks, including an early version of “Outtasite (Outta Mind),” and Uncle Tupelo’s last studio recording, “When You Find Trouble.”

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Stirratt wrote new liner notes for the reissue as well, and in them, he says of A.M., “Listening back to records 15 to 20 years later, I’m always taken with the confident but guileless quality of bands in their 20s, that strange mixture of innocence and conviction, and this is one of those records – we were barely a band at that point, just trying to make some noise.”

Wilco released Being There, a double album, in 1996. The expanded edition of that record includes a full disc of outtakes, alternate versions and demos, plus a 20-song live set recorded at the Troubadour in Los Angeles November 12th, 1996, and a four-song set recorded the following day at the Santa Monica radio station KCRW.

A.M. includes original album + 8 previously unreleased outtakes and liner notes by John Stirratt.

Being There includes original double album + 15 previously unreleased songs and demos plus a live performance at KCRW (11/13/96). CD/Digital version also includes Wilco live gig from The Troubadour (11/12/96).

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If Jay Farrar’s name is unfamiliar to you, his music shouldn’t be. As one half of Uncle Tupelo, and then fellow bandmate Jeff Tweedy married the roar of punk rock with traditional country sounds for four albums, including their 1990 debut, No Depression, which help spew an entire genre of music now known as alt-country. With Farrar’s Springsteen-like tales of life in the Midwest (the duo hailed from Belleville, Illinois, outside of St. Louis) and Tweedy’s ruminations on love and relationships, the influence of Uncle Tupelo is legendary.

Farrar and Tweedy’s relationship was combustible to say the least, and they called it quits in 1994. Tweedy would go on to form Wilco and Jay Farrar carried on with Son Volt, debuting Trace, in 1995. Over the course of seven Son Volt albums and a hefty solo output, Farrar has immersed himself in all types of roots music, from folk to crunching rock. Now, with a new album “Notes of Blue”, scheduled for release February 17th 2017.

Farrar delivers a collection of songs inspired by the giants of Mississippi blues. two songs from Notes of Blue, “Back Against the Wall” and “Lost Souls” .