When Uncle Tupelo split up, I felt like I was friends with a divorced couple and sort of had to choose which one I was going to keep hanging around. At first, I thought Jay Farrar was my divorce buddy. Son Volt's debut, the magnificent Trace, took UT's pioneering alt country sound one step further, while Wilco's first effort, AM, seemed like more of a digression for his former band mate Jeff Tweedy, as he was trying to find his way. I still love Son Volt (and think that Farrar's work with Ben Gibbard on One Fast Move or I'm Gone was brilliant), but I have to hand it to Tweedy. Like a latter day R.E.M., he has guided Wilco from indie darling to perhaps one of the most important and enduring contemporary American bands.
Tweedy also has a pretty wicked sense of humor. At a recent Chicago book release party, his solo acoustic cover of the nauseatingly buoyant "I've Got a Feeling" wasn't exactly snark-free nor a parody. It was just funny as hell.
Wilco's latest effort, The Whole Love, is due out in stores September 23rd. I missed the forty-eight hour live stream preview, but judging from the first single off the album, the rocking "I Might," this could be Wilco's strongest work since YHF.
Wilco - I Might by antirecords
Even better, Wilco will be appearing at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City on December 3rd.