Wilco's welcome return

The first two albums from Jeff Tweedy's band come back in remastered versions...

By Abigail Church | Video of the Day | December 20, 2017

At the beginning of the ‘80s, Green On Red (a group that emerged out of the Paisley Underground scene) rehabilitated the most rebellious country music. A few years later, other American indie rock groups enjoyed reviving the flame of this plague-stricken genre. Filtered over time and with a lo-fi aesthetic, this alternative country mixes the heritage of Gram Parsons with the Flying Burrito Brothers, Neil Young, the Byrds from their Sweetheart Of The Rodeo period and the Rolling Stones from Exile On Main Street. Led by Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy, Uncle Tupelo affirm themselves as one of the most gifted representatives of the genre. But the duo split, with Farrar leaving to found Son Volt and Tweedy heading off down the Wilco path. With A.M., the first shining album from his new combo which appeared in 1995, the songwriter from Illinois confirmed his talent in the art of fusing all his roots influences from the past by giving them a sound that’s considerably rougher and more contemporary. Above all, Jeff Tweedy writes with a pen made of hardened steel. It follows that compositions such as I Must Be High, Casino Queen, Box Full Of Letters and Passenger Side are quick to forget their heavy influences (Stones, Parsons, Young…) and underline the talent of the gentleman.

After this magical first work of fairly rough alternative country that was conceived at the time of the turbulent separation of his group Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy took his time to release a second album with Wilco. Already, the work was ambitious as it was a double album. Blending all their musical similarities, this was an album that from the moment it was released in October 1996 led quite a few journalists to write that Tweedy had signed his own Exile On Main Street. Much like the Rolling Stones’ masterpiece, eclecticism is the crucial ingredient to this mix of basic rock’n’roll, bluegrass, country rock, psychedelia, folk and soul. With loose guitars, pedal steel, brass and unlimited instrumentals, Wilco weaves here an impressive web between the Rolling Stones from their golden age, The Replacements, The Beatles and Big Star from the album Third. Alternating between ballads and electronic soundstorms, Tweedy demonstrates above all else that with a timeless and classical base, he is taking the lead with his grandiose songs and the stunning architecture of his compositions…

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