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Emmys 2017
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Article

Wilco's Jay Bennett: RIP

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It was less than a couple of weeks ago that I was playing cards with
my poker buddies when talk fell—as it does with metronomic
regularity—to the relative merits of Wilco’s discography. I’ll spare
you the blow-by-blow account. But at one point someone mentioned they
were still waiting for the band to produce “another “Misunderstood”.”
I knew what they meant. “Misunderstood” is a terrific slab of melancholic, angry, dissonant,
rock which is undoubtedly one of Wilco’s greatest songs and
was a staple of their live show last time I checked (and, being a huge
follower of the band, I check fairly often.) The track also opens
1996’s Being There, the album that marked a decisive break with the
alt.country stylings of their debut A.M. and introduced fans to
multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett died on Sunday at the age of 45.

Bennett is sadly best known for his acrimonious exit from Wilco which
was documented in the 2002 film I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. But
this isn’t the place to discuss the ins and outs of his at times
troubled relationship with band leader Jeff Tweedy. Unsurprisingly, Tweedy himself agrees and yesterday released a statement praising Bennett’s “significant contibution” to the band’s “songs and evolution.” During Bennett’s tenure with Wilco they certainly produced a raft of simply
fantastic material including 2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot CD which I would
happily put up against any album released in the last ten years. In
fact, I could spend all day extolling the wonders of Wilco and the
part Bennett played in helping to make so many of them. But, instead,
join me in paying tribute by watching Wilco’s Bennett-featuring
rendition of “Misunderstood” below.

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