Wilco
Wilco

Wilco

About Wilco

It’s nigh on impossible to overstate the influence of Wilco’s role in the expansion of scope and sound in American music. In 1994, lead singer and songwriter Jeff Tweedy, fresh from the breakup of his pioneering alt-country band Uncle Tupelo, formed Wilco in Chicago and wasted no time releasing A.M., their 1995 debut. It established the band as part of the college-rock realm while retaining some of the more traditional folk and country aspects that Uncle Tupelo had mastered. But their 1996 double album, Being There, took them way beyond the heartland with a mix of noisy experimentalism, classic rock influence, and intimate folk, with songs like “Misunderstood” sometimes combining all of it. After 1998’s Mermaid Avenue—a collaboration with English songwriter Billy Bragg where the artists set unused Woody Guthrie lyrics to new arrangements, resulting in understated beauties like “California Stars”—Wilco doubled down on growing their sound with Summerteeth and songs like the woozy, symphonic “She’s a Jar.” But it was 2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, a deeply emotional record that unravels through dreamy collage (“I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”), languid pop (“Jesus, Etc.”), and nostalgic classic rock tribute (“Heavy Metal Drummer”) that turned them into true trailblazers. Since then, the band have been tirelessly imaginative and predictably unpredictable, opting for grand, sophisticated pop experiments (2004’s A Ghost Is Born, 2011’s The Whole Love), lush Americana (2007’s Sky Blue Sky), and fractured folk (2016’s Schmilco, 2019’s Ode to Joy). The band’s sonic boundary-pushing—coupled with Tweedy’s insightful lyrics—is Wilco’s legacy, spurring on legions of artists like The War on Drugs, The National, and Andy Shauf along the way.

  • ORIGIN
    Chicago, IL
  • FORMED
    1994

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