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Wilco Drama Hits the Big Screen

Plus the bluegrass revival and more news from the music beat

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‘HEART’ KNOCK LIFE It’s been a rough year for Wilco. Their eagerly awaited Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is in limbo after Reprise unceremoniously dropped them this summer. And this year also saw the departure of members Jay Bennett and Ken Coomer. Assuming Foxtrot finally does come out (the band is negotiating with several labels), Wilco-ites will be treated to an unusually intimate look at the CD’s messy creation. Photographer and commercial director Sam Jones has captured the tumultuous process for a documentary film, I’m Trying to Break Your Heart, which he hopes to finish shooting early next year. ”I always wanted to be around a band at the height of their career, like, to be around during the recording of Exile on Main Street or Pet Sounds,” says Jones, who convinced the band to let him sit in on the sessions. ”The idea was to capture that time when creation happens. But we’ve actually gotten a lot more than we bargained for.

IN THE ‘PICK’ OF TIME With bluegrass big business thanks to O Brother, artists like Creed, Neil Diamond, Pink Floyd, and Queen are getting in on the ‘grass revival. Well, not exactly. But they are all subjects of Pickin’ on, a bluegrass tribute-album series that banjo-fies unlikely artists with surprisingly successful results. This year has already brought Appalachian takes on U2, R.E.M., and Elton John, among others. The most recent offerings, Pickin’ on Creed and …Pink Floyd hit stores this fall, and Pickin’ on Queen (the first with vocals) and …Neil Diamond are due next year. ”The idea was to bring bluegrass to people who might not be familiar with it,” says David Haerle, president of CMH Records, the label behind the tributes, which began in 1994 but have picked up considerably in recent years. ”We wanted to record songs that had never or would never be recorded in a red-hot bluegrass instrumental style…. It’s amazing what can be done with compositions totally outside of the realm of bluegrass.” Okay, just please don’t go Pickin’ on Britney.

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