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Wilco: Uncompromising and Iconic


Throughout its rich history, Wilco has alternated between folk-tinged alt-country and experimental pop, surprising fans and critics with its sonic inventiveness along the way. In the process, it's made some of the finest albums of the '90s and '00s, while establishing itself as a virtually peerless live band.

After the demise of the legendary Uncle Tupelo in 1994, the band's two leaders went their separate ways: Jay Farrar formed Son Volt, while Jeff Tweedy took the rest of Uncle Tupelo with him to form Wilco. While 1995's A.M. remained firmly in the alt-country vein of Uncle Tupelo, 1996's lush, sprawling Being There found Wilco broadening its ambitions considerably. Summerteeth followed three years later, and though it remains beloved, the band's increased experimentalism strained relations with its label. After that acrimony held up the release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot — widely considered to be Wilco's masterpiece — the band's uncompromising nature helped transform it into a pop-culture icon.

After the release of another studio album (the Grammy-winning A Ghost Is Born) and a double-disc live collection (Kicking Television), Wilco just returned with a sixth studio disc, Sky Blue Sky. Already the band's most commercially successful album to date, it showcases a newfound fire that's well-suited for Tweedy's melancholy, beautiful compositions.

This segment originally aired on Jun. 15, 2007.

Copyright 2007 XPN

David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.