When Wilco invited Neal Francis to join them onstage at their Sky Blue Sky destination festival in Mexico this past January, they asked the Chicago piano-rocker what song of theirs he’d like to play.
It was a tough question for the longtime Wilco fan, but eventually Francis landed on “Theologians,” with some help from his girlfriend.
“I liked that choice because it has a great piano part, and the lyrics really resonate with me as someone who continues to contemplate spirituality,” Francis said in a statement.
Francis went further; taking over lead vocals on the 2004 A Ghost Is Born fan-favorite. That version is now available for purchase for today only, on Bandcamp, with proceeds going two organizations: the Chicago-based My Block My Hood My City and the International Rescue Committee.
“He came to practice it with us,” Tweedy said of the collaboration, “and he sang the shit out of it.”
Later this month, Wilco will perform a handful of shows in New York and Chicago celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band’s iconic 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. In June, the band will be headlining their own Solid Sound festival alongside Sylvan Esso, Japanese Breakfast, Terry Allen, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and more. Francis is currently on tour in support of his new album In Plain Sight.