Jeff Tweedy just announced he will be putting out a solo album, WARM, on November 30th, and released a new video for his jangly new song “Some Birds.” The video raises questions about Tweedy’s hair, and whether he’s wearing a wig or if he really did cut his hair. But the album announcement raised a bigger question: why is Tweedy, who has never done a proper solo album, doing one now, rather than releasing the songs with Wilco?
In an interview this month with Rolling Stone, Tweedy revealed that Wilco are on “extended break” for a very reasonable, nondramatic reason: “[Drummer Glenn Kotche]’s wife, Miiri, got a Fulbright scholarship. So they spent the better part of the last year in Helsinki, so she could do her studies and her teaching.”
Miiri Kotche received the prestigious scholarship to study medical device design. Tweedy continues, “It just seemed like a good reason to honor her and honor his commitment to the band: kind of allow them to have that opportunity and not put a whole lot of demands on their time. It’s always good for a band to go away for a while. And Wilco really hasn’t gone away hardly ever, so it was an opportunity to kind of do that. “
Tweedy, however, didn’t want to stop making new music. He started booking more solo shows, writing material that could be played unaccompanied. One of them was “Let’s Go Rain,” a Woody Guthrie-style anthem about Noah’s Ark; Tweedy calls for another purifying flood to cleanse the world of its current sins. “I’m always thinking about that story,” Tweedy says. “But this is more practical, like what the fuck was happening then that isn’t happening now? If you wanna get it on a theological level, how much worse can it have possibly been? I thought it was a funny musical question to ask in that way.” The song has become a live highlight, and will appear on WARM.
Wilco are scheduled to come back in June 2019 at their Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, MA. You can already request a song.”It’s gonna be fun how much energy there’s gonna be,” Tweedy says.