Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch)

Beth Bombara Digs Wilco: Singer and songwriter Beth Bombara told us about her love for a Wilco gem.


Beth Bombara: When I first heard Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, I had recently moved away from home for the first time in my life. A different state, my first real apartment, and a pair of rose colored glasses. I didn’t stumble across Wilco until 3 years after Yankee came out. My musical experiences before that put me in a world of fast drums, crunchy guitars and gang vocals. I was drawn to the raw energy, especially performing this brand of rock music with others in a sweaty room, while everyone sang at the top of their lungs.

Wilco introduced me to a quieter chaos, which appealed to the introverted empath side of me. While I loved rock & roll, my natural demeanor was a bit more reserved. I was a shy kid, believe it or not. Hearing Wilco for the first time really helped me connect those two parts of my personality in my formative years. The frenetic distorted guitar solo in the middle of “I’m the Man Who Loves You” and the way it just disintegrates at the end, combined elements of what I loved about rock n’ roll with these catchy, beautiful melodies behind it all.

I was also drawn to the naked simplicity of lines like “You have to learn how to die if you want to be alive” (from War on War). Combine that simplicity with poetry and a sometimes nonsensical lyric; it was playful yet inspiring. The lyrics and Jeff Tweedy’s emotive voice felt like companions who understood my experiences in a way that words alone couldn’t express. There’s records I used to listen to a lot when I was younger, but this is one that holds up for me. It still makes me feel things. While it’s a nostalgic look back, it also keeps me looking forward.

Only after I’d listened to this record a handful of times, did I learn that it was born out of a transitional period for Wilco themselves. A new producer, drummer, and a label who refused to release the record when it was finished… I think I could feel that in the music. The band created an album that was both raw and refined, chaotic and calming, and it resonated deeply with me in my own period of transition and self discovery.

Beth Bombara Digs Wilco: Beth Bombara’s album It All Goes Up is out from August 4.

































































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