Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wilco (the lawsuit)

How about that for a cover? At least they aren't taking a stab at "My Humps." This should be a fab time for Jeff Tweedy and the boys. Wilco (the album) comes out June 30, and the band is about to hit the road to support it. There is a dark cloud, however, brought on by former Wilco multi-instrumentalist and producer Jay Bennett.

Bennett is suing Tweedy for breach of contract and unpaid royalties, including $50k in damages stemming from his role in the documentary 'I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.' Frankly, as a fan, I don't care about any of that. If Bennett is owed anything, he should get it. End of story. Bennett's role in (arguably) Wilco's best records is evident. If you have seen the film, however, you no doubt agree Bennett and Tweedy would have had a tough time working together after 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.' So, what has that meant to the music?

I imagine die-hard fans won't agree, but Wilco lost much with Bennett's departure. Based on subsequent years of sold-out shows and commercially successful records, it's easy to refute this. I'll give you that. I have enjoyed several songs since 'Foxtrot,' but they are usually the quieter, more piano-driven ones like "Hummingbird." Truth is, I rarely dust off 'Sky Blue Sky' or 'A Ghost is Born.' I listened to 'Summer Teeth' twice in the past week. Yes, Mr. Bennett, you are missed by some Wilco fans.

As with the last two records, I'm ever hopeful this is the one that brings me back in the Wilco fold. And how cool is this? For a limited time you can stream the whole album at the band's site. As a bonus, here is a song from the new one. Feist is sharing vocals with Tweedy on "You and I."

Wilco - You and I (mp3)

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