Monday, August 24, 2009

Wilco? Never heard of them

Here we go again with Wilco. I'm really enjoying their new album, by the way. It's one of the best of the year so far.

But did you happen to see CBS Sunday Morning's take on the boys? You would have thought Wilco was unheard of until this summer, that only now are we lifting a veil off the unheralded band and recognizing their true musical genius. Correspondent Cynthia Bowers was effusive in her praise, stating that the well-kept secret "is out.''

True, they haven't exactly been darlings of commercial radio. But who listens to commercial radio any more? Asked if they haven't yet had a hit recognized by the traditional music audience, Tweedy replied: "We haven't even had what the non-traditional music audience would consider a hit.''

Maybe, but that's hardly a disqualifier in today's fragmented music market. You no longer have to be "mainstream'' to be a known commodity. Wilco's eight albums have generated sales of more than 4 million copies, hardly the figures of an obscure band that just stepped off the Chicago el train. They have been media darlings since their Mermaid Avenue project in 1998 with Billy Bragg.

Perhaps the segment's greatest sin was mentioning Tweedy has toiled for 20 years with his working man's approach to music without acknowledging Uncle Tupelo, the ground-breaking band that helped define alt-country music, and to whom Tweedy should be deeply grateful.

Wilco, hands down, is one of America's best bands. It is not one of America's best-kept secrets, and hasn't been for years.

1 comment:

  1. Six column photo of Jeff Tweedy in today's arts section of The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi.
    From the Green Man Festival in South Wales.
    So CBS may not have heard of the guy, but 80 thousand Arabs have!