"We tried to make a book that would reflect the feel of listening to Wilco's music," says co-editor Dan Nadel. "Each writer and artist was chosen by the band with the idea that the pieces of writing and photographs would reflect where the band is at this time."
The bulk of the text was written by individual band members, ruminating on their roles in the group, with the exceptions being a Henry Miller essay favored by frontman Jeff Tweedy and an original piece written by novelist Rick Moody (The Ice Storm). "The band likes his writing quite a bit," says Nadel. "As it turns out, he's a huge Wilco fan. Rick took one song from each record and reflected on it."
"There's only two pictures in the book of them playing live," Nadel continues. "All the pictures are meant to show what you don't see about a rock band: what goes into recording a record, what leads up to going on stage, what equipment you need. There's a full-page photograph of their deli tray. There's surprisingly few pictures of the band in the book -- it's more about the environment of the band."
The forty minutes of unreleased music was recorded over the past couple years. "It's songs and jams and ideas and tryouts from the A Ghost Is Born sessions and pre-A Ghost Is Born sessions," says Nadel. "It's sequenced by the band as a coherent listening experience, and it definitely has an arc to it. It's primarily stuff people will have no idea about."
The Ghost sessions were in part dictated by the experience of touring for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. "The crazy idea we came up with was that we'd finish the record and then go to New York and record it as live as possible," Tweedy told Rolling Stone in May. "And have that be the record. We discovered that, after putting all the time in to learning how to playYankee Hotel Foxtrot live, a lot of the versions were more passionate and more vibrant live, and we thought that would be the way to go with this material."