The Whole Love Wilco
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- 1Art Of Almost07:16
- 2I Might04:01
- 4Dawned On Me03:43
- 5Black Moon03:56
- 6Born Alone03:55
- 7Open Mind03:40
- 8Capitol City04:04
- 9Standing O03:29
- 10Rising Red Lung03:09
- 11Whole Love03:50
- 12One Sunday Morning12:02
Info for The Whole Love
'The Whole Love' is the latest step in the ongoing evolution of Wilco, which Tweedy founded in 1994 after the dissolution of his previous group, alt-country standard-bearers Uncle Tupelo. From its raucous roots-rock origins, Wilco over the years has expanded its sound to encompass classic pop and genre-spanning experimentalism. Wilco also teamed with English singer Billy Bragg in the late '90s at the invitation of Woody Guthrie's daughter, who invited them to collaborate on setting to music some of the folk icon's previously unrecorded lyrics, resulting in a pair of highly regarded Mermaid Avenue albums.
Wilco often specialize in uncomfortable comfort music: Seventies-style melodies submerged in dark, abstract sounds and cloudy emotions. But their eighth disc manages to be both upbeat and experimental – as casually chooglin' as 2007's Sky Blue Sky and as textured and expansive as Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. There are avant-guitar freakouts, roots-tuggin' jams and gold-spun pastorals like 'Rising Red Lung,' where Jeff Tweedy sums up the record's vibe: 'I found a fix for the fits. . . ./It's buried under the hiss/It glows/Like a powerful smile/A carradio dial.'
If the music seems everywhere at once, Tweedy is writing more directly than ever. 'Dawned on Me' recalls the Podunk power pop of their 1995 debut, A.M., with offhand whistling and a skywriting chorus about how awesome it is to realize he still loves his wife: 'I'm calling/Just to let you know/It dawned on me,' Tweedy sings in a lyric that could've been pasted from a real conversation on a tour bus. 'We're too old for clichés,' he sings on another love song, the George Harrisonesque 'Open Mind.'
Wilco are releasing The Whole Love on their own label, dBpm, underscoring their vaunted artistic independence; they're pretty much the only band from the Nineties this side of Radiohead who keep experimenting and growing their audience at the same time. The Whole Love seems like a celebration of that freedom, with songs that roam happily all over the place: 'Capitol City' is a country waltz with bits of Dixieland clarinet, 'Sunloathe' sounds like the Beatles if they were still together in 1974, and the vaguely psychedelic folk-pop title track takes Simon and Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge down to the Small Faces' Itchycoo Park for a summer-breezin' picnic.
It all suggests a jam band a hipster could love, with every note so tasty and rich you need to hit the gym after a couple of listens. Thankfully, noise-loving guitarist Nels Cline and the restless rhythm section of bassist John Stirratt and drummer Glenn Kotche make sure some of the soft moments aren't too snuggly. That hey-what-the-hell casualness extends to Tweedy, whose tendency to start each of his singer-songwriter meditations with the same 'Dust in the Wind' chord progression is almost confrontationally laid back. You gotta hand it to a guy who can sing 'Sadness is my luxury' (on 'Born Alone') and sound like he's takin' it easy rollin' down Ventura Highway.
Nowhere on The Whole Love does Tweedy luxuriate in more sadness, or find more hard-won satisfaction, than on the last track, 'One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend),' 12 minutes of John Fahey-meets-Tortoise, NPRsegue velvet. Tweedy sings about religion, depression and a rift between a father and a son: 'I can hear those bells/ Spoken and gone/I feel relief, I feel well.' It's the Midwestern post-rock version of the scene in Field of Dreams where Kevin Costner says, 'Dad? You wanna have a catch?' It's powerful, mind-reeling stuff, if you have the heart for it. Few bands have the grapes to go for something so softly grand. Even fewer have earned the freedom. (Jon Dolan, Rolling Stone)
Jeff Tweedy, vocals & guitars
John Stirratt, bass
Nels Cline, guitars
Mikael Jorgensen, keyboards & vocals
Patrick Sansone, guitars & keyboards
Glenn Kotche, drums & percussion
Produced by Jeff Tweedy with Patrick Sansone and Tom Schick
Recorded at The Loft in Chicago, IL
Engineered and Mixed by Tom Schick with Patrick Sansone and Jeff Tweedy
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering, Portland, ME
String Arrangement on Black Moon: Patrick Sansone
Rolling Stone 50 Best Albums of 2011 / No. 8
The Chicago rock band founded in the mid-’90s by singer, guitarist and songwriter Jeff Tweedy last year launched and headlined the inaugural Solid Sound Festival, while Tweedy produced and wrote two songs for the Grammy- winning release by soul legend Mavis Staples, You Are Not Alone, which won Best Americana Album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards in February.
Staples joined Wilco, Avi Buffalo, Vetiver, the Baseball Project and more to perform at the first Solid Sound Festival, held Aug. 13-15, 2010, on the grounds of MASS MoCA (the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), a converted textile mill in North Adams, tucked away in the scenic Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts.
Wilco has already announced the second incarnation of Solid Sound June 24-26. Along with a pair of headline performances by Wilco, this year’s version features the Levon Helm Band, Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore, New Zealand rocker Liam Finn, alt-country duo The Handsome Family and folk couple Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion. Also performing are soul singer Syl Johnson, jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas and Chicago retro-soul band JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, plus indie-rockers Here We Go Magic, Sic Alps, Purling Hiss and a rare live set by Pillow Wand, a collaboration between Moore and Wilco guitarist Nels Cline. Comedian John Hodgman hosts this year’s Comedy Cabaret, featuring Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac and comics Eugene Mirman and Morgan Murphy. Tickets are available via solidsoundfestival.com.
Also, Wilco this winter founded dBpm Records, headquartered in Easthampton, MA, to release future Wilco albums. Speaking of which, the band is currently recording the follow-up to its Grammy-nominated 2009 release Wilco (The Album) at the band’s studio in Chicago, The Loft.
It’s the latest chapter for Wilco, which Tweedy founded in 1994 after the dissolution of his previous group, Uncle Tupelo. From its raucous roots-rock origins, Wilco over the years has expanded its sound to encompass classic pop and genre-spanning experimentalism on acclaimed albums including 2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (the subject of Sam Jones’ 2002 film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart) and 2005’s Grammy-winning effort A Ghost is Born. Wilco also teamed with English singer Billy Bragg in the late ’90s at the invitation of Woody Guthrie’s daughter, who invited them to collaborate on setting to music some of the folk icon’s previously unrecorded lyrics, resulting in a pair of highly regarded Mermaid Avenue albums.
The current Wilco lineup solidified in 2004 with the addition of guitarist Nels Cline and guitarist/keyboardist Pat Sansone, who rounded out a roster featuring Tweedy, founding bassist John Stirratt, drummer Glenn Kotche and keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen. Kotche joined the band during the making of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and Jorgensen helped with live sound manipulations on that tour before switching to piano and becoming a full-time member of Wilco.
In life beyond Wilco Stirratt and Sansone play together in the folk-pop group Autumn Defense, Jorgensen fronts the pop-rock band Pronto and Cline performs in multiple side projects, most notably with the free-jazz instrumental group The Nels Cline Singers. Kotche performs with bassist Darin Gray in On Fillmore and as a composer and a solo percussionist. He has also collaborated with Tweedy on the Loose Fur side project.
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