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Wilco – Sky Blue Sky

December 13, 2021

This might be the most underrated great Wilco album in their catalog. It arrived in the shadows of the artistic and commercial successes of Yankee Foxtrot Hotel and A Ghost Is Born. It was a great simplification of their sound – they shed the sound effects of the two previous albums in favor of guitar histrionics of new member Nils Cline.

Nils Cline is an amazing guitar player and bandleader in his own right. He is a great addition to Wilco. Cline has a skill that most guitar heroes don’t have: he knows how to complement a song with his solos.

As rock critic Steven Hyden (@Steven_Hyden) recently pointed out, when swooning about this album, he noted that this is when the Wilco lineup solidified and that lineup has been in place for over 20 years now:

  • Nels Cline – guitars
  • Mikael Jorgensen – keys
  • Glenn Kotche – drums
  • Pat Sansone – multi-instrumentalist
  • John Stirratt (original member) – bass
  • Jeff Tweedy (original member) – guitars

This album has quiet folky ballads and loud rock & roll – all melodic AF, perfectly arranged, with tasteful solos, and Tweedy’s vocals are as soulful as he gets.

The album boasts a Wilco staple: “Impossible Germany” – a fixture at every live show I have seen since this album came out – an excuse for Cline to shred. But the whole album is great, it has a totally 70s vibe. There’s George Harrison/Beatles, ZZ Top boogie, but mostly Wilco being Wilco.

If you are not familiar with Wilco this is a great introduction. If you are familiar with Wilco, but this missed your radar, check it out. If you are a Wilco fan – you already know.

From → Music Reviews

One Comment
  1. It felt like a step down after the previous few classics, but it’s held up well. One of their best post-Ghost records.

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