Something for the weekend – Episode #48 – Wilco “Sky Blue Sky”

For Easter Monday, we will extend the concept of this weekend review and celebrate a truly great record by one of my favourite American bands of these times.

Wilco – “Sky Blue Sky2007

Those familiar with this blog know for sure my love for Wilco‘s music and his lead singer/songwriter Jeff Tweedy as well. He is one of these artists I follow with each release and although his solo records and collaborations are very often excellent and interesting, his best work can probably be found in the context of Wilco. Jeff Tweedy first founded cult Americana band Uncle Tupelo with Jay Farrar in the late 80’s. After three albums, the latter left the band and the remaining musicians kept on making music together, therefore creating one of the most musical singular experiences of our times. Debut 1995 album “A.M” was ok but few had imagined their second (and double) LP (1996’s “Being There“) would be such a masterpiece. Very much influenced by the sounds of The Rolling Stones‘ “Exile On Main Street“, this is the record that made them go from an interesting project to a major band. All subsequent albums have been excellent, with a special mention to their fourth effort (2002’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot“), whose complicated creation is well described in the moving “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” documentary movie.

Released in 2007, “Sky Blue Sky” is their sixth studio album (out of eleven so far). Although this is generally not the critics’ natural choice of recommendation, it is this blog’s favourite album from that great band. More precisely, this is the album in which I personally find the best balance between traditional American songwriting (a la Neil Young to try to give an idea about influences) and…something else which is difficult to describe but probably comes from their more experimental side. The band was also evolving at the time and getting to their now classic line up, welcoming multi instrumentalist Pat Sansone and extraordinary guitarist Nels Cline. The latter really gave a new dynamic to the band from then onwards and the way he plays throughout this album is phenomenal. Adding to that the way Jeff Tweedy’s voice was becoming more mature and moving…and this gives you one of the best records released since the start of the century. Discover this band and you will be rewarded for life.

Format: CD Bought in: 2007 To be noted: “Impossible Germany” and “Hate It Here” are those two songs I hope to experience when catching Wilco on stage. Listen to Ethan Hawke explaining why the latter is so great to his son in Richard Linklater‘s “Boyhood” and you will get it all… Rating: 9.5/10

2 thoughts on “Something for the weekend – Episode #48 – Wilco “Sky Blue Sky”

  1. Hm, this and Star Wars are my least played Wilco. SBS… there’s nothing wrong with it – I think the production is all weird and too sheeny for my ears. I’m not convinced it was JT’s most creative period. SW, although big and beefy and kinda immediately more up my strasse is one I rarely play in full: a friend once admonished it as Wilco trying too hard to sound like Wilco! Which made me laugh and then made me go, hmm?! Perhaps a replay is in order?

    I love A Ghost Is Born in its entirety and will on occasion play the whole of Yankee…, both these albums need to be played from start to finish – I love albums like that! (In The Aeroplane Over The Sea – NMH – and Death Cab For Cutie’s Photo Album being others that I feel as if I’m cheating if I don’t start from track one and go all the way through!?)

    Wilco being one of those bands that I happily spend an evening compiling a ‘greatest comp tape’ of! (GBV being other contenders for this!). Wilco – definitely seen them half dozen times I guess over the years – and, if I’m not wrong, once was at EOTR…

    N. Cline – what a dude!
    Thanks!

    • Yes, this is what is great with such bands, anyone can get their favourite albums. I caught Jeff Tweedy at EOTR but not Wilco as I guess they played there before 2014 (still living overseas..)

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