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Published on February 1st, 2019 | by voxx

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Jeff Tweedy – Warm

Stepping out: The Wilco leader finally takes the plunge with his solo debut…

At 51, Wilco bandleader Jeff Tweedy is clearly in a reflective mood. But, for him, age also seems to have brought with it a certain resolve.

For years, he’s been tiptoeing towards making a solo album. His plan to make one in 2014 diverted into the two-man garage band record Sukierae with his drummer son Spencer; 2017’s Together At Last was Tweedy alone re-recording acoustic takes on some of his old Wilco tunes.

Finally, Warm, his first solo album proper, arrives at the same time as the singer’s autobiography, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back). It’s a record that finds Tweedy preoccupied with mortality, regret and feelings about his past drug use, all woven together with dreamy-headed wisdom and his dark, self-deprecating humour.

“I break bricks with my heart,” he sings in the deceptively chirpy ‘Some Birds’. “But only a fool would call it art.” If both that track and the bittersweet pop of ‘I Know What It’s Like’ echo ’66 Beatles, then the rest is steeped in the atmospheric, acoustic country that he’s best known for – ‘From Far Away’, for instance, features a tumbling guitar figure overlaid with what sounds like a bleepy transmission from a dying star.

Death hangs over parts of Warm, specifically the passing of the singer’s father last year, and at times it sounds like a record made by someone who’s reached the acceptance stage of grief. “I hear your laugh in my laughter,” he offers in ‘How Hard It Is For A Desert To Die’.

Tweedy’s best songs always blur the lines between confession and wry observation, such as the numbed view here from heaven at an ever-turning Earth in ‘Having Been Is No Way To Be’. Similarly, ‘Bombs Above’ finds him picturing his trail of songs and wondering what they’re worth. On the evidence of Warm, he needn’t worry. Every one here is a gem.

- By Jake White


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