There are a few artists out there who can put huge philosophical questions and personal suffering into songs that listeners can easily latch onto and empathize with. Jeff Tweedy, one of the biggest innovators in Americana and alternative music today, is back now with a deeply personal solo album that does just that. Featuring the most country-esque sounds Tweedy has recorded since Wilco’s 1996 Being There, WARM also hits at innovative noise and sound design. The album was recorded and produced by Tweedy at The Loft, Wilco’s famed Chicago recording studio and practice space. With the help of his son, Spencer Tweedy, as well as engineer Tom Schick (Mavis Staples, Ryan Adams, Willie Nelson) and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, Tweedy created a haunting soundscape coupled with the precise lyricism that he’s known for.
The first thing listeners should remember when listening to this album is it is not a Wilco album, so don’t expect it to be. This album seems truer to Tweedy’s own spirit, closer to his soul. Heavy use of spacey slide/steel guitar give this album a haunted, disconcerting vibe. Overall the album is lightly produced, with more focus on the lyrics and songwriting than on the instruments. The album ruminates heavily on death, and is a central focus throughout the album. Themes of death thread through WARM, from the opener “Bombs Above” through “Warm (When The Sun Has Died),” Tweedy lets us know his thoughts on the subject. Exploration and questions of religion come into play with the song “Let’s Go Rain,” with Tweedy begging for another flood to restore the world. Tweedy explores his past problems with substance abuse and addiction throughout the album, culminating in the nightmarish sounding “The Red Brick.”
Taking a step back to reflect on himself may have done Tweedy a world of good. Releasing his memoirs and an album this personal seem to have given Tweedy new life. At the same time, as personal as WARM is, it connects in a way that listeners can understand his experience. Jeff Tweedy continues to be a treasure trove of insight and musical innovation. Get your copy at https://jeff-tweedy-warm.myshopify.com/