John Stirratt is one lucky
dude. It’s not that he’s
undeserving—on the contrary,
Stirratt’s string of recordings with
Wilco have threads of sheer brilliance,
where the bassist’s tone, time, and taste tie
the whole band together. I just have one
gripe: as singer/songwriter Jeff Tweedy’s
partner since the early days, he seems to
have a deathgrip on one of the coolest gigs
in rock, and it doesn’t seem fair to the rest
of us. First, there are the songs: spacious
soundscapes where Stirratt can step out
and strut his stuff, or lay back and let his
uber-talented bandmates take the lead.
Then there’s the gear. Stirratt has scored
some of the sweetest vintage rigs and basses
around. The man has all this, and without
the headaches of having a high profile like
Sting or Paul McCartney.
There’s nothing groundbreaking about
Wilco’s new self-titled release. In truth, the
band’s latest is essentially what I’ve come
to expect: really, really good music. On first
listening, Wilco lacks the urgency and attitude
of the band’s early efforts. But if the
last few Wilco records are any indication,
this will be one that gets better after
repeated listenings. But back to the issue
at hand—John, maybe it’s time to pass the
torch and give another bass brother a turn.
You know how to reach me.