dBpm Records Inc.
Surprisingly this is the debut solo album of new material for Jeff Tweedy (Wilco/Uncle Tupelo). He’s previously released a live-in-studio album of songs from his back catalogue and then there was the Sukierae album under the name Tweedy, with son Spencer. This though feels wholly Jeff – relaxed and effortlessly melodic with plenty of those sweet lyrical turns of phrase he’s become known for.
He was wise to not just do an acoustic album. There’s plenty of that instrument anchoring the 11 songs here but he employs a very Wilco-esque palette of sounds and moods. ‘Don’t Forget’ is one of the more country songs he’s recorded in a long time, ‘Some Birds’ runs on a brisk strum and plenty of cascading guitar sounds and textures while ‘How Hard It Is For A Desert To Die’ is the opposite; stripped dry and bare, like a stark Jason Molina ballad with distant effects and details. ‘Let’s Go Rain’ is The Band jamming with The Beatles and Neil Finn instead of Dylan while ‘From Far Away’ channels the avant jazz and post rock of the Chicago scene with great restraint.
There are plenty of references to rain, birds, deserts and the sun – enough to add an organic and nature-themed subtext to the album. What makes it all so effective is the sleight of hand and production subtlety to mix acoustic and synthetic elements and retain a cohesive sonic mood. Tweedy is still wresting with the static and the ambient sounds he hears in his head but with this blend of the farmhouse and the arthouse he continues his near faultless run of turning simple songs into magical incantations.