“Music is not a loaf of bread.” Jeff Tweedy, Wilco lead singer.

My first introduction to Wilco was a show in a smoky Bar/Club in Tallahassee, Florida. And never having listened to them before (but claiming their entire discography on my iTunes) I thought maybe I should man up and see what the hype was about.

…because there was hype. Almost everyone I knew from Tallahassee absolutely loved the band. But I had no clue what was going on. The people at the show were as mixed as I’ve ever seen it, everything from construction workers who were speaking exclusively in Spanish (the guys sitting next to me) to college students from FSU, FAMU, and TCC (crowding the stage). So I took a seat in a balcony style seating arrangement to passively see what this band was like. Although I was beginning to wonder how a band could appeal to everyone at that show.

They were incredible.

It’s fairly often a band will exceed expectations live–with the harsh reality that many bands will still fail to be as good and their studio records. But, for me, it’s rare to enjoy a band I am not familiar with at a standard rock show where there are the five guys hanging out with their instruments strumming their songs away. But I had a blast. The songs were infective, delightful. Ballads. Rock songs. Counry music. Close to folk or bluegrass, even. When I left I knew I had to listen to every song they produced; I was also wondering why such a good band would ever come to Tallahassee.

You have no idea how thrilled I was when I discovered my home stomping grounds were the center of one of their songs Monday: “get me out of FLA,” “he must be down in Pensacola hiding from the snow,” “get me out of TLA.” They even understand what it feels like to live in the Panhandle–rare, amazing.

But I cannot recommend these guys enough. They get five stars out of five without question. Even a seemingly relaxed song like “A Shot in the Arm” they turn into an incredibly dynamic rock song live. If I could convince you to see a concert I would.

They also really surprised me with a list on their website of charities they support, including: Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia, 826NYC, DC Central Kitchen, The Growing Connection, Chicago Coalition for the Homless, and the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls.

If you was a professional description, this is from the Rolling Stone about their album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot:

ingratiating melodies of pop and the chaos of noise, the reassuring strum of an acoustic guitar and the discomforting hum of radio static, the warmth of Tweedy’s voice and the icy swirl of lost-in-space keyboards. Yet it hangs together thanks to the brilliant sequencing, a world unto itself that rewards repeat visits.

And if you’re interested in a few songs to check out: Monday, What Light, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, A Shot in the Arm, War on War, Heavy Metal Drummer, Ashes of American Flags, Jesus Etc., I’m the Man Who Loves You, Impossible Germany, Walken, and/or I’m Always in Love.

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