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Jeff Tweedy - WARM (Album Review)

Thursday, 13 December 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

Jeff Tweedy’s first collection of solo songs adds up to a gentile album of warm Americana that stumbles along in joyous reverie and elegant inebriation. It’s a fine turn from the Wilco frontman, whose band’s 25 year musical catalogue has sometimes fallen flat, but whose previous album—2016’s ‘Schmilco’—seemed to reinvigorate and freshen their sound. These good vibes have continued on 'Warm'.

Among many fine moments is How Hard It Is For a Desert to Die?—a track whose slow trudge and salty slide guitar recall raw exhaustion and spiritual entropy. Actually, it’s not far from the arid wastelands of the Wim Wenders’ film Paris, Texas, a work with a sense of time and place deeply informed by the guitar stylings of Ry Cooder. 

On this song, though, the production is far drier and it refrains from the ambient wetness of reverb. The lyrics feel incredibly… lyrical. They have a space and integrity that is magnetic.  But, while that song can probably be described as a ballad, the tone of the album is far more ambivalent. 

Tracks like Let’s Go Rain, Don’t Forget and I Know What It’s Like play in more familiar Wilco/Byrds territory. They are sweet and jolly, but tinged with a deep sadness that is kept at arm’s length by Tweedy’s lo-fi, occasionally mumbled vocals. 

That said, the fact that lyrics feel slightly under-sung becomes less problematic because of nimble phrase writing. Refrains, choruses and verses often appear quickly and without introduction, which keeps the compositions tight despite laconic playing. 

There are some dirges on here, in the form of The Red Brick and closer, How Will I Find You, but these tracks complement the balance of the album. All in all, ‘Warm’ is a highly skilful turn from a musician who—despite that ambivalent tone—may be really enjoying himself once again. 

Jeff Tweedy Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows

Thu January 03 2019 - LOS ANGELES California - Largo at the Coronet Theatre (USA)
Fri January 04 2019 - LOS ANGELES California - Largo at the Coronet Theatre (USA)
Sun January 06 2019 - LOS ANGELES California - Largo at the Coronet Theatre (USA)
Mon January 07 2019 - LOS ANGELES California - Largo at the Coronet Theatre (USA)
Fri January 11 2019 - SAN FRANCISCO California - Nourse Theater (USA)
Wed February 27 2019 - IOWA CITY Iowa - Englert Civic Theatre (USA)
Thu February 28 2019 - ST LOUIS Missouri - Pageant (USA)
Fri March 01 2019 - OKLAHOMA CITY Oklahoma - Auditorium at Douglass (USA)
Sun March 03 2019 - DALLAS Texas - Majestic Theatre Dallas (USA)
Mon March 04 2019 - AUSTIN Texas - Paramount Theatre Austin (USA)
Thu March 07 2019 - GERMANTOWN Tennessee - Germantown Performing Arts Center (USA)
Fri March 08 2019 - BIRMINGHAM AL Alabama - Lyric Theatre - Birmingham (USA)
Sat March 09 2019 - MACON Georgia - Hargray Capitol Theatre (USA)
Mon March 11 2019 - PONTE VEDRA BEACH Florida - Ponte Vedra Concert Hall (USA)
Thu March 14 2019 - TAMPA Florida - Tampa Theater (USA)
Fri March 15 2019 - FORT LAUDERDALE Florida - Parker Playhouse (USA)
Sun March 17 2019 - ORLANDO Florida - Plaza Theatre - FL (USA)
Tue March 19 2019 - ASHEVILLE North Carolina - Orange Peel (USA)
Wed March 20 2019 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - Tennessee Performing Arts Center James Polk Theater (USA)
Thu March 21 2019 - INDIANAPOLIS Indiana - Egyptian Room at Old National Centre (USA)
Fri April 12 2019 - SAVANNAH Georgia - Lucas Theatre for the Arts (USA)

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