Roger, Wilco and Hopefully Not Over and Out

I got on the Wilco bandwagon about the same time a lot of people did, it was during the hoopla over Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I saw their documentary, caught them live and enjoyed the show, bought Summerteeth and then went back to mostly ignoring them. It wasn’t until Wilco (The Album) that I gave them much notice, despite the critical raves I read (and heard) regarding Sky Blue Sky and A Ghost Is Born, I didn’t buy either of them. Jeff Tweedy is one of the better songwriters to come out of the U.S. and despite many lineup fluctuations, Wilco always come through with strong songs and well thought out and produced albums. But for some reason, the band never stayed on my radar for very long. WIlco (Jeff Tweedy) may be the best example of a band that promotes substance over style and maybe their transparency keeps them from being as trendy as other acts. When I saw them live, Jeff Tweedy came across as a man very confident in his music and performance, he even called out the audience a couple of times when they seemed to be more interested in socializing than paying attention to the band that was putting on a good show. I eventually bought a two dollar used copy of Sky Blue Sky and immediately became a fan of the band again. I think the first time I heard anything off that record was from a website that played 30 second samples and I mistakenly blew off Sky Blue Sky because I wasn’t impressed by what I heard. That’s a listening practice I’ve given up since it is both lazy and it doesn’t give the songs their due. I love the whole album but the title track, Either Way and Hate It Here stand out for me and I always think about those songs whenever I think I might not be giving a song or an artist a fair listen. I kind of went through a similar phase when Being There, Wilco’s second album came out in 1996. I bought it based on critical raves but didn’t give it a fair spin at the time, probably because I was buying a lot of music back then. You would have thought I learned my lesson from that mistake, but it takes me a few tries to understand things. The band hasn’t released an album since 2011 (unless you count Mermaid-3 I suppose) and Jeff Tweedy and son just released their first record so who knows when Wilco will be back for another record. But I’m on their bandwagon now to stay.

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