Tag Archives: Jeff Tweedy

New Norah Jones and Jeff Tweedy video: I’m Alive

Video: Norah Jones – “I’m Alive” (ft. Jeff Tweedy)

Norah Jones - I'm Alive

From Pick Me Up Off the Floor, due May 8 on Blue Note.

Well I suppose the title of this song is a rather important affirmation in these times of social distancing, self-quarantine and isolation. I hope you, too, are alive and will remain so for as long as reasonably appropriate.

This is a weird thing to be going through, and there have been times over the past couple of weeks where not even listening to music has worked to calm the fear and loathing that rises from my depths of my guts every time I think about how our orange fuhrer and his Republican enablers have botched the response to this crisis. It’s maddening.

But what can you do? Stay home, laugh at memes, and try to comfort those around you. Try not to take out your anger on the undeserving. Watch “Tiger King” and marvel at the wonders of the universe. We are all just blips in the timeline. This too shall pass.

And in the meantime find some joy in this new song by Ravi Shankar’s daughter, recorded with Jeff and Spencer Tweedy at the Wilco Loft.

Just sit and wait, don’t move
Just hesitate
You can hope and pray
You can moan
Maybe things will change.

Things will change. They always do.

Norah Jones: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Jeff Tweedy video: Family Ghost

Video: Jeff Tweedy – “Family Ghost”

Jeff Tweedy "Family Ghost" (Official Video)

From WARMER, due April 13 on dBpm.

I can appreciate any song that starts out declaring “I’m a dope.” That is a sentiment I can get behind. Tweedy goes on to describe how it feels to be a liberal middle aged white guy in today’s environment.

I’m a dope
Blowing smoke at the TV screen
Lost all hope
Based on the things I’ve seen
I’m a man content
For the sake of argument
Underneath each added straw
Oh, I feel so American

Yup.

I drove across the country with my family for spring break this year, and one of the lessons from that trip is: it’s a big country. Really big. And most of it is empty. Like, not even cows. Just fields and tumbleweeds and dirt and mesas and mountains and no people for miles. Wild.

It’s a weird time to be American. Feels like there’s a lot dividing us from each other. What does it even mean to be American? Will we ever share a common reality, or will we continue to live in our own separate bubbles? I don’t see how that’s ever going to change, so it’s hard to have any hope for any kind of united identity. Whatever that means.

I guess it’s something we’ve been grappling with since before we were even an independent nation. Loyalists and patriots and black folks and indigenous people… Was there ever a true American identity? Probably not.

Regardless, this is a lame video.

For something way cooler, check out the two songs he taped for Acoustic Asheville, another new one from Warmer, plus an old classic. Watch below…

Jeff Tweedy: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Jeff Tweedy video: Family Ghost

New Jeff Tweedy video: I Know What It’s Like

Video: Jeff Tweedy – “I Know What It’s Like”

Jeff Tweedy "I Know What It's Like" (Official Video)

Directed by Mark Greenberg. From WARM, out now on dBpm Records.

I’m about 100 pages into Tweedy’s memoir, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), and so far it’s really enjoyable. One of my favorite things about it so far is the antipathy he retains toward his classmates from high school. We all know we’re supposed to let that shit go by the time we’re grown up, but it’s comforting to know there are other people out there who continue to feel “alienated and irrationally repulsed by most of my classmates.”

When he bumped into a woman from his high school who told him she was sad he wouldn’t be attending their twentieth reunion, he writes, “I needed to catch up with her like I needed to sit down with Madonna and reminisce about all the times I watched the ‘Lucky Star’ video on MTV as a teen.”

I know what that’s like.

I wish Tweedy would put more of this kind of conversational humor into his lyrics. His songs used to be funnier…at least occasionally. I love sad sack dad rock as much as anybody (it’s my jam), but I appreciate getting a chance to smirk or even guffaw once in a while to moderate the tears in my beers. But it’s okay. Something else is taking shape, I guess.

Jeff Tweedy: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Jeff Tweedy video: Some Birds

Video: Jeff Tweedy – “Some Birds”

Jeff Tweedy "Some Birds" (Official Video)

Directed by Seth Henrikson. From Warm, due November 20.

Jeff Tweedy knows his audience. After all, he was once one of us. His only job outside of being in a band was as a record store clerk, so he understands well the things that set us off. The lead-off video for his upcoming solo album is a quick bit of catnip for folks like us. It starts with a norm-core version of Tweedy--replete in polo shirt, sweater and “haircut”--walking in to what we think is just a quick trim and probably neck clean-up. Instead, it’s the antithesis to “Almost Cut My Hair,” a freak flag anthem dating back more than 45 years.

What’s more, norrm-o Tweedy is serenaded by real Tweedy who uses the occasion to show off all of the double-neck guitars he has…and we don’t. It’s exactly what I would do in his shoes, and so would you.

The song itself is catchy enough. It’s a cool little mid-tempo cruiser punctuated with some 12-string almost-solos. Again, totally my thing.

According to liner notes written by George Saunders and published by The New Yorker, “”Jeff told me once that what he’s trying to communicate to his listener is, ‘You’re O.K. You’re not alone. I’m singing to you, but I also hear you.'”

Well, we hear you too. And we reply with a resounding, “One of us! One of us! One of us!”

Jeff Tweedy: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Mavis Staples video: If All I Was Was Black

Video: Mavis Staples – “If All I Was Was Black”

Mavis Staples - "If All I Was Was Black"

From If All I Was Was Black, out now on Anti.

Mavis Staples is 78 years old and she’s been singing professionally for 70 of those. Thank about that. She’s been getting paid to sing since before most Baby Boomers were even born. She’s a national treasure. This is the title track to her third album produced by Jeff Tweedy.

Director Zac Manuel told Rolling Stone, “The intent of this video is to highlight black excellence, and to provoke and encourage a larger public appreciation of the labor – physical and emotional – the people of color often are expected to bear. Using the symbolism of the ‘monument,’ a contemporary point of debate, I hope to steer conversation toward the acknowledgment of actual greatness; by replacing a negative and reinforcing a positive, this video will alter the image of who we often see immortalized in our country’s history.”

If it was up to me, I’d just replace every statue in America, confederate or otherwise, with a statue of Mavis Staples. Oh, mercy.

Mavis Staples: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Mavis Staples, Jeff Tweedy on Letterman

Great clip from Late Night with David Letterman. Two things of particular interest: 1) Jeff Tweedy takes lead on a verse; 2) Letterman is utterly gushing at the end.

Via Consequence of Sound

Mavis Staples: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Wilco: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Watch Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy: Only The Lord Knows

Video: Mavis Staples & Jeff Tweedy – "Only The Lord Knows"

This is the other Jeff Tweedy original, in addition to the title track, on Mavis Staples’ new album, You Are Not Alone. So good.

Mavis Staples: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Mavis Staples – Wrote A Song For Everyone

Video: Mavis Staples + Jeff Tweedy – “Wrote A Song For Everyone” Acoustic

This is one of my favorite CCR songs. Shoot, it’s one of my favorite songs, period. The way John Fogerty’s lyrics tackle hugely complex subjects and make them personal, while acknowledging his inability to communicate with the person he loves, is heavy and perfect. It’s no wonder Jeff Tweedy picked up on this song: it essentially encapsulates the entire theme of his own masterpiece, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. What took Wilco a whole album to say, “Wrote a Song for Everyone” does in under five minutes. Even if you can write songs that connect with thousands of people, it’s still tough to be honest with the people you love.

Saw the people standin’ thousand years in chains.

Somebody said it’s different now, look it’s just the same.

Pharoahs spin the message, round and round the truth.

They could have saved a million people, how can I tell you?

There are only two songs written by white folks that take on the subject of slavery and handle it in an effective way. This one and Bob Dylan‘s “Blind Willie McTell.” I hope Tweedy gets Ms. Staples to do that one on their next collaboration. You Are Not Alone is due September 14 on Anti.

Continue reading Mavis Staples – Wrote A Song For Everyone

Jeff Tweedy, Feist, Beck cover Skip Spence

Video: Record Club: Skip Spence “Broken Heart”

I did a quick search of the archives and I’m surprised to see we haven’t covered Beck‘s “Record Club” project at all. It’s a cool idea where a bunch of musicians get together and cover an entire album in one day. Beck then releases the songs on his web site and Vimeo channel. He’s already done The Velvet Underground and Nico (ft. Nigel Godrich, Giovanni Ribisi) and Songs of Leonard Cohen (ft. MGMT, Devendra Banhart), and now he’s halfway through Skip Spence‘s Oar (ft. Wilco, Feist, Jamie Liddell).

“Broken Heart” features a duet with Jeff Tweedy and Leslie Feist, and it’s really nice. A few more of my favorites from this installment after the jump…

Via TwentyFourBit.

Continue reading Jeff Tweedy, Feist, Beck cover Skip Spence

The goal of Wilco

Wilco‘s Jeff Tweedy talks to the Chicago A.V. Club about making “challenging” music, or not:

People really think narrowly when it comes to those types of challenges, and the idea that something has to be aggressive or avant grade, or atonal, even, to be a challenge. I’ve found it to be the exact opposite. We literally put 15 minutes of noise on a record that did not raise an eyebrow, but if you make a pop song with Feist on it, people are going to cry like the sky’s falling. It’s really going to hurt somebody. Our goal is to make some shit that we fucking like to play and feel good about, with the knowledge that that doesn’t hurt anybody. You’re basically doing something that you love to do, and you’re not really hurting anybody.

Emphasis added. While it’s hard not to read that and think he’s quite possibly being more than a little defensive, it’s impossible to argue with the facts. As a huge fan of straightforward pop songs, I’d like to challenge anybody—including Tweedy himself—to write a song as thoroughly great as “New Madrid,” “Passenger Side,” or “Forget the Flowers.” Why do people think you have to get weird?

My two-year-old totally loves “Wilco (The Song)” and “I’ll Fight” from the new album. And what’s not to love? They’re simply good songs.

Wilco: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

Continue reading The goal of Wilco