RIP Jay Bennett | Bleader

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

RIP Jay Bennett

Posted By on 05.26.09 at 03:19 PM

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A couple notes:

1. Bennett got a bad rap after I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, but he's always been the sort of polymath and craftsman I admire: multi-instrumentalist, studio nerd, VCR repairman. One of the saddest things about his later years - and it's still impossible say how it factors into his death - is that it became so difficult for Bennett to get by doing what he did. Despite, of course, having a profound responsibility for what will likely go down as two masterpieces of American music (Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot).

2. You can download Whatever Happened I Apologize here. "The Engines Are Idle" is lovely and heartbreaking; I love the layered electronics and organ under the twangy folk guitar.

3. Now's a good time to go back and listen to "Pieholden Suite" off of Summerteeth, the song he loved so much he named his studio after it.

4. As painful as Bennett's ouster from Wilco clearly was for all involved, I have to confess that the transparency and tremendous documentation of it makes for a fascinating study in creative temperament and working relationships.

5. Via the Nashville Scene, here's a great video of Wilco putting together my favorite of their songs, "Poor Places." I highly recommend tracking down the YHF demos if only for the alternate versions of the song. You can listen to a bunch of them here, though it doesn't have the weird barroom-piano version I love so much. It's probably, um, around.

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