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Jeff Tweedy has not exactly been coy lately—he just released his memoir Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), and has been on a supporting book tour for the past few weeks, including a recent appearance on Colbert. But with all the focus on his book, the details about his forthcoming debut solo album, WARM—one of Paste’s most-anticipated releases of the month—have gotten lost in the mix. Here’s a look at everything we know about the album so far.
So Tweedy’s gone solo?
Although Tweedy’s been an active musician for more than 30 years, WARM stands to be the first proper solo release of new material in his career. Tweedy broke into the mainstream in the early ‘90s with his alt-country band Uncle Tupelo. When the band dissolved in 1994, Tweedy started Wilco, and the band’s alt-radio success has afforded Tweedy the ability to pursue projects as he pleases.
There have been plenty of Tweedy side projects over the years, including contributions to film soundtracks, two collaborations with legendary soul singer Mavis Staples, and a band with his son Spencer Tweedy, but there has never been a completely solo Tweedy album of new material. He released the solo acoustic album Together At Last last summer, but the album was mostly reworks of old songs.
What will it sound like?
Yes, WARM will be Tweedy’s first true solo album, but it doesn’t look to be any sort of drastic departure for the singer. Based on the first two singles, the twangy “Some Birds” and the staggering jaunt “Let’s Go Rain” (below), Tweedy seems to be reaching far back into his songbook for inspiration. The songs sound like nothing more than his Uncle Tupelo-era work, mixing alternative jolt with country lilt.
Tweedy said in a statement accompanying the release of “Some Birds” that the lead single is “like a lot of songs on WARM, being a confrontation between self and shadow self simultaneously feeling I’m to blame and not to blame, present and gone, and utterly confused, but determined to hold someone accountable.” This seems to be a bit more of a philosophical reason than a musical one, but perhaps his recent trips down the rabbit hole of memory have led him back to his old musical tricks.
What else can we expect?
WARM is largely a self-sustained labor of love for Tweedy—the album is due out Nov. 30 through dBpm, the record label Tweedy and Wilco started in 2011, and it was recorded at Tweedy’s legendary Chicago studio, The Loft, with his son Spencer Tweedy, Glenn Kotche and Tom Schick. The singer also tapped literary giant George Saunders to write the album’s liner notes, which you can read in full over at The New Yorker.
Watch Tweedy perform with Wilco circa 1996 via the video below, plucked from the Paste archives, and see the WARM tracklist and album art (along with Tweedy’s tour dates) here. Watch this space for further updates on his new album.