Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jay Bennett, ex-Wilco member, cause of death: overdose

I can't say this one is at all surprising - it's probably what most people assumed the second they heard the former Wilco member had died. Billboard has the AP brief up if you want the details. No matter where you fall in the "which incarnation of Wilco was better" debate, Bennett was one hell of a talent and contributed to Wilco's best studio work.

Such a shame. I have to admit I was sort of taken back by how much this one really got to me. Maybe it was just because all those Bennett-era Wilco recordings were the first ones I latched on to. Not to knock the new stuff, which I do enjoy, but those are still my favorites -- Being There, Summerteeth, YHF and both Mermaid Avenues. "California Stars" dropped into my life (via a 1999 live recording) when I was a sophomore in high school, which is about as impressionable time as any for a teengager ... and I digress.

Bottom line, no matter how much credit Bennett is owed for those albums (I'm not touching that one with a 10 foot pole ... not yet, anyway), those are the Wilco songs I'll play and sing along with for the rest of my life.

Below is a video of Wilco doing what I believe is the only song Bennett received full song credits for, "My Darling". If you're unfamiliar with the material they did for that Session at West 54th, click around YouTube and check it out - it's all pretty excellent.

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