Yeah, Jeff Tweedy has put on a few pounds, but listen to his tunes – it’s okay to be husky with this music. With probably the finest package of cover art and album title I’ve seen in years, Tweedy and his band Wilco bring their dirty style of folk rock to CityFolk this coming Sunday.
When I first heard that the new record from Wilco was titled Star Wars, the nerd in me felt a twinge of resentment, but when I saw the art chosen for the cover, my frown turned upside down – and fast. Yup, Tweedy and company have taken probably the strongest trademark of our time and plastered it on an album featuring an image of a kitty cat portrait your great-aunt might hang in her sitting room. It’s bloody hilarious. And, it’s freakin’ ballsy. It might be a little stupid, but ballsy nonetheless. I guess when your band turns 20 years old, it takes a little wackiness to turn the crank. “In fact, I didn’t even know there was a new Star Wars movie coming out until my lawyer told me,” Tweedy revealed in the latest issue of Rolling Stone. “Everybody advised me against it, because there is a heavily protected trademark involved.” Now, I’m not sure if he lives under a rock or not, but I’m going to assume he might have heard something about the new Stars Wars film coming. Perhaps his bus is tin-foil lined, but that movie is everywhere. Regardless, the move is controversial and is just what contemporary folk rock needs.
As much as all you rockers want to believe folk music lives in a significantly less aggressive world than your familiar punk rock jarring, know this: no music has brought people together or started forward thinking than folk music has. Much of the music involved with social activism has been rooted in folk music. Not that Wilco has ever had this intention with their music, but back in July
when they played the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre, it happened to fall on what would have been Woody Guthrie’s 103 birthday. From the stage, Tweedy quipped that “He (Guthrie) said that a folk singer’s duty is to make comfortable people disturbed, and disturbed people comfortable.” This makes me smile. Perhaps the sound waves blasting down the canal this Sunday night will reach the right people, and have Guthrie’s intent.
As with Van Morrison (who plays this festival 2 nights earlier), fans have to hope the right Wilco shows up. Many reviews of their performances speak of amazing music made by a band that has done nothing but continue to grow up over the last 20 years, settling into a sound that has the same guts their current album title has, but there is a spattering of shows where the band simply didn’t care. Hey Wilco, you might not believe in it Sunday, but you should still do your job. Wait.
Wilco play the Telus Stage at CityFolk this coming Sunday, Sept 20th at 8:30PM. The always interesting (yet, unpredictable as well) Lucinda Williams also performs on this stage, immediately before Wilco. If the Great Lawn holds true to its claim of beauty, and both bands feel that beauty, then we might just get a stellar evening of music. Find tickets here. The rest of Wilco’s tour dates are listed below.
MAGNETIZED by WILCO
WILCO TOUR DATES
Sep 16 State Theatre Kalamazoo, MI
Sep 17 Masonic Auditorium Cleveland, OH
Sep 18 TURF Fest Toronto, Canada
Sep 19 Toronto Urban Roots Festival Toronto, Canada
Sep 20 CityFolk Ottawa, Canada
Sep 21 Metropolis Montreal, Canada
Sep 23 State Theatre of Ithaca, NY Ithaca, NY
Sep 24 Hill Auditorium Ann Arbor, MI
Sep 25 IU Auditorium Bloomington, IN
Sep 26 Pilgrimage Festival Franklin, TN
Sep 27 Pilgrimage Festival Franklin, TN
Sep 28 The Orpheum New Orleans, LA
Sep 29 Stubb’s Austin, TX
Sep 30 Stubb’s Austin, TX