Monday, May 25, 2009

At this piano filled with souls 

So a billion years ago Penny and I went to go see Wilco at the Majestic Theater in Detroit, and as they were playing, she pointed at a guy on the left who went from mandolin to violin to keyboards to guitar to melodica. She said "If you were ever in a band, I think you would be like that guy."

The guy was Jay Bennett and I always took that as a real compliment. While he made questionable dreadlock choices and was probably not a guy I would choose to drive cross-country with in a Hundai, the truth was that the orchestration and colors he added to Wilco's music led to the band's most amazing period (in my opinion) from "Being There" through three-quarters of "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" and including "Summerteeth" which sits comfortably in my Top 5 Albums of All Time list.

Later in Porchsleeper's recording process, I was jokingly accused of "Jay Bennett-esque douchebaggery" (I'm paraphrasing may have been "ass-hattery") when I wanted to add yet another layer of handclaps/Fender Rhodes/phone ringing/Tijuana Brass/String sections. I also took that as a compliment.

Below are a handful of songs that remind me of Jay Bennett who passed away in his sleep over the weekend.

"Why Would You Want to Live" - Wilco's "Being There"

"Airline to Heaven" - Billy Bragg & Wilco's "Mermaid Avenue II"

"When You Wake Up Feeling Old" - Wilco's "Summerteeth"

"Pieholden Suite" - Wilco's "Summerteeth"

Ashes of American Flags - Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"

Poor Places - Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"

"My Darlin'" - on Jay Bennett & Edward Burch's "The Palace at 4am"

Listen Here:

Chicago's Jim DeRogatis talks about Jay's life and death.

Jay Bennett's contributions to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot available here:

An interview

21 Reasons Why Jay Bennett Should Be Back In Wilco

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