Biography, Discography, Reviews, Links

WilcoJeff Tweedy recently released his first solo record of original material, WARM, via dBpm Records to widespread acclaim. Having enjoyed their time in New Zealand and the vibe of Finn’s own Roundhead Studios , the four members stayed in Auckland through January to record the foundation tracks for their next album. Jim Scott, who acted as engineer and mixer for the Neil Finn project, stayed on in the same capacity for the Wilco sessions. Nels Cline and Mikael Jorgensen would later add overdubs to these tracks at the band’s Chicago Loft.

The band’s forthcoming album, Ode To Joy, will be out October 4, 2019. The band will be touring Europe and North America extensively surrounding its release.

Jeff Tweedy has operated as a one-man band in recent years, releasing three solo albums, touring as a solo act and publishing a witty warts-and-all memoir, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back).

Leaked tracks from the album surfaced on the Internet in late 2001, and the stripped-down lineup of Tweedy, Kotche, Stirratt, and multi-instrumentalist Leroy Bach embarked on a small tour to support – or drum up support for – the unreleased record. Nonesuch Records picked up the album and officially released it in early 2002 to widespread critical acclaim. Meanwhile, an independent film documenting the drama surrounding the album (I Am Trying to Break Your Heart) followed in the fall of 2002. During the down time after the album was recorded, Tweedy composed and recorded the film score to the Ethan Hawke film Chelsea Walls, which ended up being released around the same time as Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.


That being said, I don’t think we want to just reconfirm and be accepted by an audience that is loyal to us. I look at every record, and every opportunity to perform, as an effort to make a connection, to reach out and invite as many people as you can get to pay attention. Otherwise, I don’t know what the point is. In each chapter, I think, of a band, you should be willing to risk those people in the effort to reach new people.

Retreating from the experimental orgy of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco turned A Ghost Is Born (Nonesuch, 2004) into their most pensive, introspective, melancholy album. The experiments (the lengthy guitar-heavy prog-rock rumination of Spiders and the lengthy Neil Young-ian coda of Less Than You Think) sound out of context, and a bit indulgent (their length is unjustified, other than to fill the disc). The poppy tunes (Hummingbird, Muzzle of Bees) are just that: trivial pop. The rest is uniformly Wilco-esque, i.e. dejavu. The album was the band’s greatest commercial success, entering the top-1o charts.

CLINE: Those are some of my favorite songs. The two Mermaid Avenue albums consisted of recordings of unreleased Woody Guthrie (pictured) songs. We caught up with the frontman ahead of Wilco’s Wednesday show at Toyota Music Factory.

The contribution of keyboardist Jay Bennett must have been crucial, but he left the band soon after completing this album. Ode to Joy – Wilco’s 11th studio album – will be released Oct. 4, 2019 via dBpm Records.

Wilco plays a wide array of its fan-favorite songs, including “Muzzle of Bees,” “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” “Hell Is Chrome,” “War on War,” “Company In My Back.” “I’ll Fight,” “Shouldn’t Be Ashamed,” “Empty Corner,” “White Wooden Cross,” “Box Full of Letters,” “Bull Black Nova,” “Reservations,” “Side with the Seeds,” “Theologians,” “Impossible Germany,” “Something to Lose,” “I Got You (At the End of the Century),” “Outtasite (Outtamind)” and more. The exact setlist is subject to change.

Rated 4 out of 5 by Stuartmcl from Excellent as ever A great set – played songs from across their 10 or so albums. Loved the new stuff too. In 2018, the frontman Jeff Tweedy released his second solo album, Warm”, which was met by critical acclaim and was followed by Warmer” in 2019.

The band’s catalog includes 2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (named one of the 500 greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone), 2005’s Grammy award-winning A Ghost is Born, the Grammy-nominated Wilco (The Album) and The Whole Love and more. NPR has called Wilco the best rock band in America” and the band has been heralded by the Los Angeles Times as an amazing machine whose six players seem more at one with their music than any rock group working today.” The Wilco catalog includes Mermaid Avenue Volumes 1, 2 and 3, which, in collaboration with British folk singer Billy Bragg, sets original music to song lyrics by the iconic Woody Guthrie.

TWEEDY: And mine too. And if that was all I ever cared about, that would be all that we do, and we would have a much different performance style. But I feel so much of a responsibility, when I see that many people in one place. Oh no, they’re all looking at me, and we’re supposed to …” But we can actually do that. We can make some music, we can make a racket, that might make everybody smile. And that’s a fucking crazy thing to turn your back on, and I’ve never had the stomach for it. I’m not saying other artists are being callous or withholding. I think some people can’t do it, and that’s fine, and some people refuse to, and that’s a discipline that I just don’t have.

Loose Fur’s Born Again In The USA (Drag City, 2006) gets stuck in a kind of quirky and erudite folk-rock that is cohesive and is not attractive. It requires some thinking, but the more one pays attention to the poppy Stupid As The Sun and Hey Chicken the less excited one gets. The musical personas of Jeff Tweedy, Jim ‘Rourke and Glenn Kotche truly coalesce only in the post-rock essay Wreckroom and in the instrumental An Ecumencial Manner. The vocals and the lyrics are effective repellents throughout the album.

Wilco were founded by Jeff Tweedy, the former Uncle Tupelo’s frontman, in Chicago in 1994. Wilco’s current band line-up is the following: Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Nels Cline, Glenn Kotche, Patrick Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen.


Il gruppo eccelle invece in quello che era il loro punto debole, il country tradizionale: Far Far Away, Forget the Flowers e Someday Soon regalano deliziose revisioni postmoderne (e un po’ parodistiche) del genere. Anche le melodie vaporosamente pop di Outta Mind e Why Would You Wanna Live, che nominalmente si rifanno a Raspberries e Big Star, sfoggiano questo piglio iconoclasta. Tweedy si concede persino il lusso di filastrocche stralunate e “lo-fi” come Red-Eyed and Blue. Tutta roba che non appartiene al suo (terribilmente serio) background. Sono gli arrangiamenti a fare la differenza, ad aggiungere quel pizzico di humour e di straniamento che trasformano una boriosa paternale in un aforisma eccentrico.

Jeff Tweedy and Nels Cline get the lion’s share of the attention, but every member of the band is a standout. To hear them, you’d never believe they’ve been playing some of these songs since the nineties. Not only does each number sound fresh and absolutely contemporary, but the band puts as much energy into each performance as if it were their first time on stage. Indeed, they seem to be enjoying the show as much as any audience member. They know their stagecraft, too, keeping the audience’s attention with a light show, and witty patter from Tweedy.

Jeff Tweedy further steered Wilco towards mainstream laid-back country-rock (with eerie 1970s overtones) on Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch, 2007), despite the addition of jazz-rock guitar titan Nels Cline Nostalgic (Side With The Seeds), senile (On And On And On) and childish (What Light, the songs cannot shake the drowsiness that permeates them from the very beginning (Either Way). With the exception of Impossible Germany, Cline has rarely been so misused in his career.

Speaking with Tweedy and Cline together, it’s clear that they are old pals, with a bond of mutual trust and admiration. They are wickedly funny and genuinely enthusiastic, as likely to drop a droll aside about an ‘80s SNL character as an earnest endorsement of a current underground musician. Throughout the interview, they grapple with the weight of Wilco’s legacy, which they seemed eager to throw off a few years ago, but have reached a tentative peace with today. Rightfully, they buck against the notion that the work they’re doing now is a postscript to an earlier era. Tweedy still relishes the thought of a new Wilco album alienating a host of longtime fans in its quest to bring new listeners in, but he begrudgingly accepts that the people who have stuck around this long will happily embrace whatever he throws at them.

Debuting as a rough-and-tumble alt-country act and evolving into a mature and eclectic indie rock ensemble, Wilco rose from the ashes of the seminal roots rock band Uncle Tupelo , who disbanded in 1994.

It’s an effective way of recreating that surprise that you would get from buying a record just from the album cover and taking it home. I find stuff all the time that I’ve never heard of, that I don’t have any understanding of where it’s from or why somebody put it out. I’m almost always excited about Fridays. It seems miraculous to me.

Wilco’s bassist John Stirratt and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone formed Autumn Defense and released The Green Hour (Broadmoor, 2001) and Circles (Arena Rock, 2003).

After a two-year break – triggered by their drummer Glenn Kotche relocating to Finland so his wife could pursue a Fulbright scholarship – Wilco have returned with an imminent 11th album, the brazenly titled Ode to Joy, but the six-piece sound so fluid and relaxed it is as if they have never been away. During their furlough, Tweedy published a vivid and bracing memoir, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), and it perhaps feels as if he is done with small talk: with his curls tucked into a dark beanie hat, he limits his audience interactions to the odd wave and a cheery We’ve got a lot to get through!” during a crammed two-hour set.

Summer Teeth (Reprise, 1999) is a studio product that relies heavily on keyboards and electronic sounds. It hardly relates to roots-rock anymore. It is closer in spirit (if not in technique) to the baroque pop of Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and to the epic psychedelia of Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde.

The band’s forthcoming album, Ode To Joy, will be out October 4, 2019. The band will be touring Europe and North America extensively surrounding its release.

Feist and Wilco performed “You and I” on Late Show with David Letterman on July 14, 2009. 110 In June during their West Coast tour, Wilco joined Beck , Feist, Jamie Lidell and James Gadson in the studio to take part in Beck’s Record Club project, covering Skip Spence ‘s Oar album. 111 The first song “Little Hands” was posted on Beck’s website on November 12, 2009.

Heralded as, the best rock band in America” by NPR, the Englert is excited to present Wilco at one of our region’s notable and historic performance venues, The Paramount Theatre. We are privileged to work alongside a fellow arts ally, in a continued effort to foster collaboration beyond the walls of our theater.

TWEEDY: The stakes feel higher. And I think it did a disservice to the last two records that we created the atmosphere of them being really low-stakes. There’s a lot more seriousness to those records than was maybe perceived by some people.

It’s difficult to escape the fact that there is little to commend Ode to Joy for beyond its exceptionally competent loveliness. That is, however, no reason to completely disregard it.

Apart from lead singer Jeff Tweedy, Wilco presently consists of bass guitarist John Stirratt, drummer Glenn Kotche, keyboard player Mikael Jorgensen, guitarist Nels Cline and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone. Tweedy and Stirratt are the only original members of the band left. The remaining members joined between 2001 and 2004 and continue to tour with the group.

TWEEDY: That’s a struggle that I’ve always felt internally. I aspire to write songs that are delicate, and nuanced, and subtle—all words that don’t necessarily make for a good show.

Since then, Tweedy has maintained a prolific if uneven creative output. Besides two Wilco albums (2015’s restlessly scrappy Star Wars and 2016’s elongated sigh Schmilco ), he made a double-LP with his son (2014’s Sukierae), recorded new acoustic versions of his old classics (2017’s Together At Last), and released a pair of proper solo records (2018’s WARM and this year’s WARMER). He also ramped up his production work for other artists, embarked on an assortment of fun extracurriculars , and wrote a revelatory memoir that cemented his reputation as the former all-star who’s still good for a home run here and there but whose greatest value is his presence in the dugout.

Throughout the latter half of Wilco’s career, though, Tweedy has just as often simply sounded spent. The old ennui remains a mainstay of his catalog, but the breathless inspiration has accompanied it less and less frequently. We can argue in circles about when Wilco’s decline began and how far they’ve fallen from the storied run that established their place among history’s greatest American rock bands, but to these ears, ever since they settled into a consistent lineup in the interim between 2004’s A Ghost Is Born and 2007’s Sky Blue Sky, the thrill has been slipping away like air slowly but surely escaping a balloon — a falling off that seems to befall even the best musicians eventually. Even 2011 career overture The Whole Love, the high water mark of Wilco’s stability era, mostly found them retracing their steps, bringing fresh zest to familiar maneuvers.

I started getting nervous about whether we were going to have time, in just a couple of weeks, to get a record up off the ground. So I laid the groundwork with Glenn Kotche, drummer of Wilco. It was meant to just be the scaffolding, but it ended up being on the record. And then, when we all got together, we played together over those tracks. A lot of the overdubs were done in groups.

Tempers flared between Bragg and Wilco after the album was completed. Bennett believed that Bragg was overproducing his songs, a sharp contrast to Wilco’s sparser contributions. Bennett called Bragg about the possibility of remixing Bragg’s songs, to which Bragg responded “you make your record, and I’ll make mine, fucker.” Eventually Bragg sent copies of his recordings to Chicago for Bennett to remix, but Bragg refused to use the new mixes on the album. The two parties were unable to establish a promotional tour and quarreled over royalties and guest musician fees.

TWEEDY: It’s pretty simple. If you told me when I was growing up that every Friday, I could listen to almost every single record that comes out, practically for free, I would have lost my mind. I spent so much time for searching for things that I was reading about, and I couldn’t go to the record store nearly as much as I wanted to. There was no way to get any information.

After the dissolution of the alternative country band Uncle Tupelo the remaining members of the band, Jeff Tweedy and John Stirratt, went on to form the beloved alternative rock band Wilco, which they based out of Chicago, Illinois, US.

Wilco toured extensively following the release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and in 2003 began work on their next album, A Ghost Is Born. While sessions went smoothly compared to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, after the album was finished Leroy Bach left the band in a split that was described as mutual and amicable; guitarist Nels Cline, keyboardist Mike Jorgensen, and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone joined Wilco for their subsequent tour. Shortly before the album’s release, Tweedy surprised many fans by announcing he had entered a drug rehabilitation facility to treat a dependency on painkillers, prescribed to treat a long history of migraine headaches aggravated by panic disorder. Tweedy discussed his health problems in depth, along with the often tangled history of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo, in Wilco: Learning How to Die, a biography of the group written by rock journalist Greg Kot, published to coincide with A Ghost Is Born’s release in the spring of 2004.


Il monumentale Being There (Reprise, 1996), comprendente ben 19 canzoni, rivisita le radici musicali di Tweedy, dai Rolling Stones, ai quali e` ispirato il deragliante rhythm and blues di Monday, alla Band, che potrebbe invidiargli Kingpin, da Tom Petty (Outtasite) a Bob Dylan (Someone Else’s Song). Tweedy ha insomma tempo per indulgere in tutti i peccati a cui ci ha abituati.

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