Together At Last
Amazon Digital Services, LLC
A stripped back set of band songs performed by the chief – the singer/songwriter – that’s the plan for Tweedy’s first proper solo album – and it works just fine. Very well in fact, particularly because after a lovely opening stroll through Via Chicago, its groove gone but the rest of its feel still hanging there just so, Tweedy takes a wee tumble into the very back (and side) catalogue. There’s a wonderful rendition of Laminated Cat, which you might remember from the Loose Fur trio (Tweedy, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and Jim O’Rourke). Straight after that we have Lost Love from the band Golden Smog (another side-project) so when he returns to Wilco for Muzzle of Bees it’s clear that this is about Tweedy picking (some of) his favourites – it might only mean something to the Wilco diehard but it’s not only easy on the ear it feels more rewarding than many of the recent Wilco albums – it certainly suggests the problem with the Tweedy album (Jeff and his son Spencer) was that there were no decent songs.
No such complaints here. You could argue that we don’t need to hear I Am Trying To Break Your Heart in this setting, maybe even the same is true of Ashes of American Flags – but there’s not really a wrong foot placed. In A Future Age has a George Harrison-like air to it here, where on Summerteeth its just a buried-deep album cut. Hummingbird has a lovely charm with a jaunty acoustic guitar guiding it rather than the far-too-pleased-with-itself Beatles-y melodic drive on the band’s version.
Eleven songs – passing by in less than 40 minutes, recorded up in the band’s Loft studio, just Tweedy and his guitar (Together At Last?) well you can’t fault the voice, nor the decision to strip back and record these songs, pottering away there, re-firing a set of personal favourites, presumably.
Well, at least in making his solo voice known he’s not going back to releasing another poetry book – here’s proof, yet again, that his cryptic words work best when put to music, his voice to guide. This is really lovely. A stop-gap of sorts, no doubt. But lovely all the same.