A little housekeeping, folks. When we converted from MovableType to WordPress, it seems we lost some of our early, featured content. We didn’t really “lose” it but we definitely orphaned it. If readers and search engines can’t find it, it’s lost for all intents and purposes.
Jay Bennett died one year ago today. His family has established The Jay Bennett Foundation (also on Facebook) to support music and education that launches today. Fans can download the album Jay was working on at the time of his death for free with donations accepted that will support the foundation and one of its partner charities. The album, Kicking at the Perfumed Air, will also be released commercially on July 10 with a portion of those proceeds also going to the foundation.
This is a really nice piano ballad with lovely female backing vocals and subtle strings (Jay’s Mellotron?). It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a year since Bennett died. On the anniversary of his passing, May 24, his family will be launching a new foundation to support music and education. A few weeks later, the album will be available for free download with donations and CD purchases to benefit the foundation.
Chicago magazine gives credit where credit is due with a nice homage to Jay Bennett:
Bennett’s vintage keyboards float throughout songs like “She’s a Jar” and “Pieholden Suite,” leaving a dreamy aftertaste. His presence provides a continual commentary on the melody at hand, whether from a spooky banjo clucking (“Via Chicago”) or an instrumental pile-on that builds to an emotional storm (“My Darling”).
Interviews with Edward Burch, Bob Andrews and ex-Wilco drummer Ken Coomer shed a little more light on who Jay was and what is contributions to the band meant. My favorite bit is when Coomer says that nobody in the band even knew Jay could play piano until they were in the studio for Being There. Friends and family seem to be making a concerted effort to ensure Jay Bennett’s legacy is not bound to his portrayal in I am Trying to Break Your Heart.
The Huffington Postis reporting that ex-Wilco member Jay Bennett died of an apparent accidental overdose of pain medication:
Toxicology tests showed the 45-year-old musician died from an overdose of fentanyl, Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said in a brief news release. The drug is found in patches commonly prescribed to treat chronic pain.
The manufacturers recalled fentanyl patches in February 2008 after discovering that some leaked, causing labored breathing and possible overdose. It wasn’t known whether Jay Bennett was using similar patches.
Not to suggest that this is our “final word” on Jay Bennett by any means, but I asked the GLONO crew for some of their favorite memories of the late guitarist, producer, keyboard collector, and VCR repairman.
After this we’ll return to our regular programming. At least until further news breaks. Maybe it was all a hoax to get people to buy his new album on vinyl… At least, that’s what I’m going to keep hoping.
And remember, kids: try to make sure people realize how much you care while they’re still around to appreciate it. Life goes fast.
Our good friend Jay Walter Bennett left us this weekend. As news hits the wires so instantaneously these days, we thought it was important to share some thoughts about our friend and brother before any rumors got out of hand.
First, let it be known that Jay was in a really good place these past few years. He had returned to the area he loved–the “Twin Cities,” Champaign-Urbana–and resurrected his studio, Pieholden Suite Sound, with the assistance of many dear friends and allies. Jay had been busy making music. He recently had released an intimate record entitled “Whatever Happened I Apologize,” and he was looking forward to wrapping up his new work, “Kicking at the Perfumed Air.” Proud of finishing a trilogy of records, including “Bigger Than Blue,” “The Beloved Enemy,” and “The Magnificent Defeat,” Jay loved the balanced yet ironic album titles. He was also looking forward to engineering and releasing Titanic Love Affair’s previously unreleased record, as well as starting work on “The Palace at 4 a.m. Part II,” the follow-up to his post-Wilco debut with Edward Burch. “Jay the Academic” had also reemerged, pursuing his umpteenth degree at the University of Illinois, and he was thrilled to be taking graduate classes again.
Read the full email after the jump…
We’ve been checking the various Wilco/Jay Bennett/Alt.country/Whatever bulletin boards and have been fascinated by how quickly and dramatically stories regarding Jay Bennett have developed and changed in the days since his death. It’s interesting to see how those who knew him are addressing it all.
In response to Jay Bennett‘s untimely death, Jeff Tweedy released a statement acknowledging his former bandmate’s “significant contributions to the band’s songs and evolution.” He wasn’t exaggerating. According to the two major music publishing organizations, Bennett received a co-writing credit on the bulk of the material Wilco released from the Mermaid Avenue material in 1998 through Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in 2002.
Of the 15 songs on 1999’s Summerteeth, for example, Bennett co-wrote 13 of them; and 8 of the 11 songs on YHF. It would be tough to argue that the following list doesn’t represent some of Wilco’s best material.
ASCAP lists the following compositions by songwriter/composer BENNETT JAY W:
Seven years ago, on the afternoon of May 11, 2002, Jay Bennett and Edward Burch were doing an in-store performance at Laurie’s Planet of Sound in Chicago to promote their newly released album, The Palace at 4am. GLONO was there and we managed to capture a bunch of crappy, grainy photos. Without a trace of bitterness, Bennett joked about how the guitar he was playing at the moment was the very one pictured on the cover of a famous double album by a different band.
Afterwards, we asked him and Burch to sign a copy of their new CD for a giveaway we were hosting on the site. He graciously stuck a Glorious Noise sticker on one of his roadcases. We chatted for a while and eventually arranged the interview that led to our track-by-track listing of all of his contributions to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which Wilco and its management were downplaying at the time. We didn’t think Bennett was getting a fair shake in the press and we wanted to let him share his side of the story.