The Shedd Institute presents TWEEDY, the latest project by Wilco frontman Jeff Sunday, March 15 at 7:30pm. Tickets are on sale Friday, January 30th at 10am at The Shedd Institute and online at www.theshedd.org.
Special guests; THE MINUS 5
Jeff Tweedy is “one of the most daring songwriters of his generation” and his band Wilco is “vital, adventurous . . . breaking new stylistic ground with each ambitious and creatively restless album” – Salon.com.
As the founding member and leader of the American rock band Wilco and before that the co-founder of the alt-country band Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy is one of contemporary American music’s most accomplished songwriters, musicians and performers. Since starting Wilco in 1994 Tweedy has written original songs for eight Wilco albums and collaborated with folk singer Billy Bragg to bring musical life to three albums-full of Woody Guthrie-penned lyrics in the Mermaid Avenue series.
His latest project is Tweedy, a musical collaboration with his 18-year-old son and drummer Spencer Tweedy. The father/son duo’s debut album is called Sukierae and features 20 songs written by Jeff Tweedy. With Spencer on drums, Jeff handles his usual guitars and vocals, as well as bass and keyboards. Musician Scott McCaughey (R.E.M., The Minus Five, The Baseball Project) lends additional keyboards and backing vocals on Sukierae come courtesy of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of the Brooklyn-band Lucius.
“When I set out to make this record, I imagined it being a solo thing, but not in the sense of one guy strumming an acoustic guitar and singing,” Jeff said. “Solo to me meant that I would do everything – write the songs, play all the instruments and sing. But Spencer’s been with me from the very beginning demo sessions, playing drums and helping the songs take shape. In that sense, the record is kind of like a solo album performed by a duo.”
Tweedy’s touring band includes Spencer on drums plus bassist Darin Grey, guitarist Jim Elkington and keyboardist Liam Cunningham.
Also an accomplished and in-demand producer beyond the Wilco and Tweedy realm, Jeff has collaborated twice with soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples. First on her 2010 release You Are Not Alone, and on 2012’s One True Vine. Both albums were produced by Jeff and recorded at the Wilco loft and both have garnered widespread critical acclaim.
“One True Vine sounds at once contemporary and true to Staples’ lengthy career and history… haunting, beautifully restrained…” – The A.V. Club
Best Americana Album in the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. Jeff Tweedy’s producer credits also include The Invisible Way by the Minneapolis trio Low, Wassaic Way by folk-rock duo Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion’s (co-produced production of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy… mixes triumphant gospel and evocative blues, Guided by the brilliant infusing each with hard-won wisdom” -NPR on You Are Not Alone. The album went on to win with Wilco’s Patrick Sansone). Additionally, he’s done production work with Austin’s psychedelic rockers White Denim.
A touring tour-de-force Tweedy and Wilco have played more than 1,500 concerts worldwide. Wilco also mans the helm at its own Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts – a three-day event blending music, comedy, world-class contemporary art and more.
When assembling Dungeon Golds, The Minus 5’s Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows. R.E.M., Baseball Project, Tired Pony, Tuatara, etc.) leaned towards songs that have made their way into the band’s recent live sets, with the thought that “it’d be a good time to go out and perform them,” offers the indie pop/rock collective’s captain.
Artfully curated, by McCaughey, from the extremely limited edition (750 copies) Record Store Day 2014 vinyl only boxed set, Scott The Hoople In The Dungeon Of Horror, the tracks were recorded primarily in The Dungeon, McCaughey’s basement studio. In the process of compiling these tracks, McCaughey could not resist reworking several of the songs. As a result, the album features six altered, edited or enhanced mixes/versions from those that appeared on the boxed set.
Formed in 1993, McCaughey designed the Minus 5 as a pop collective, featuring a new lineup “for recordings and live appearances that has been completely fluid, dependent on musician availability, whim, opportunity, and provenance,” says McCaughey. “I may have taken more of the music upon myself on the Scott The Hoople sessions, but when it came down to it, I still wanted my friends to have their say, and they were kind enough to do so.” Guests include, Peter Buck, Jeff Tweedy, Ian McLagan, John Moen and Nate Query (The Decemberists), Linda Pitmon, and many others.
Throughout 10 albums, McCaughey has worked the most frequently with R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, who was featured on the group's eponymous debut EP, which was only released through They Might Be Giants' mail-order record club, Hello Records. By the time they recorded their full-length debut album, Old Liquidator, in 1995, the Minus 5 consisted of McCaughey, Buck, and the Posies' Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow. After releasing Old Liquidator on East Side Digital, the group reconvened in late 1996, to record its Hollywood Records debut, The Lonesome Death of Buck McCoy, which appeared in the spring of 1997.
The same year, McCaughey's solo album My Chartreuse Opinion was reissued by Hollywood Records as a Minus 5 album, and the Minus 5 and the Young Fresh Fellows faced off on a special double-disc split release, Let the War Against Music Begin/ Because We Hate You. The Minus 5 appeared on Conan O’Brien performing “You Don’t Mean It”, which was also featured on The Chris Isaak Show.
After a changing of the guard at Hollywood Records, the Minus 5 found themselves back in the independent leagues in 2003, with Germany’s Return to Sender label releasing a second volume of songs from the Let the War Against Music Begin sessions called I Don't Know Who I Am. McCaughey signed to Yep Roc Records for the breakthrough Tweedy/Wilco collaboration Down with Wilco, with the band performing “The Town That Lost Its Groove Supply” on Late Night With David Letterman. A video for the song, animated by the Replacements’ Chris Mars, appeared on a follow-up EP dominated by Down with Wilco outtakes, At the Organ. Yep Roc then re-issued In Rock, a collection of tunes recorded in a single day in 2000, featuring the Minus 5’s “classic” line-up, McCaughey, Buck, Bill Rieflin, and John Ramberg, as well as guests Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie, Chris Ballew of The Presidents of The United States of America, and John Wesley Harding.
Buck and McCaughey continued Minus 5 endeavors in between R.E.M. recording and touring, with trips to Spain, Japan and the UK, and the Yep Roc releases The Minus 5 (a/k/a The Gun Album) in 2006 and the folkier Killingsworth, recorded with many of Portland, Oregon’s finest musicians in McCaughey’s current hometown. R..E.M.’s disbandment in 2011 has led to Peter Buck’s two solo LPs (with McCaughey’s heavy involvement) and the aforementioned Minus 5 box set, and, most certainly, more to come.