Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A circle needs a what, now?
Okay, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy is a great musician and all. But he can't seem to get along with guys named Jay, and he really ought to. Uncle Tupelo was one of the greatest bands of all time, due to the collaboration/competition between frontmen Tweedy and Jay Farrar. But after Farrar left the band (apparently due to some weird shit on Tweedy's part), the first Wilco record, while excellent, didn't measure up to the Uncle Tupelo legacy.

That all changed after multi-instrumentalist studio-whiz songwriter Jay Bennett joined Wilco, however. The band's next three records were groundbreaking masterpieces. Then when Bennett became more of a force in the band (or more of a egotistical perfectist pain in everyone's ass), Tweedy fired him. Predictably, the next Wilco record, A Ghost Is Born, was a bit of a letdown, marred by uneven songwriting and some seriously overindulgent noodling (aided and abetted by Jim O'Rourke). I think he needs another Jay in his life! (Jay Z? ... no, that would end poorly.)

Jay Bennett has since released three albums that prove he is a major talent in his own right (and as a producer he almost made Blues Traveler sound good).

A few years ago I saw Bennett perform with collaborator Edward Burch at The Fire, a scummy dive bar in Fishtown. I rode my bike in the rain to get there, spent my last crumpled fiver on too much Schmidt's (always a regret) and enjoyed one of the best shows I've seen anywhere.

Talk to Me (served on
Want You Back (served by Jay's site)

Buy the albums at

P.S. Stay tuned for a post on Jay Bennett's first band, Titanic Love Affair, which were a total ripoff of The Replacements and Soul Asylum ... but in a good way.


Blogger Axelmoloko said...

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9:40 AM  

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