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A Love Supreme
Jeff Tweedy, frontman of Forbidden Fruit-bound alt. country legends Wilco, talks to Roisin Dwyer about the group's electric new album, A Whole Love, working with Mavis Staples, gigging with Nick Lowe and overcoming anxiety disorder.
Roisin Dwyer, 30 May 2012
“I adore your country and love being there,” smiles Jeff Tweedy. “We have spent a lot of time there over the years and I always look forward to it!”
Released on the band’s own dBm label, Kilmainham-bound Wilco’s new album, A Whole Love, is a finely wrought collection of gems that spans a multitude of genres and styles. It seems to bristle with a certain confidence as though a new-found freedom has pervaded the creative process.
“Well, I think everyone assumes that naturally it’s a big reason for having your own label,” muses Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. “But we have always dealt freely in creative matter whether we deserved it or not, and warranted ourselves a lot of freedom in our dealings with labels. [See excellent doc I Am Trying To Break Your Heart for an insight into their wranglings with former home Reprise]. There are certainly a lot of advantages to having your own record label and mainly for us it’s having a more direct connection with our fans and not having as much red tape when we want to make decisions. Also overall it’s a fairer economic situation.”
In celebration of their newly-liberated status the band chose to cover Nick Lowe’s ‘I Love My Label’ as a b-side to lead single ‘I Might’. The Stiff Records legend has toured extensively with the Chicago troupe over the last 18 months.
“I’ve been a long-time fan and basically we just asked if he would come out and tour with us. We hit it off and had some good camaraderie so I think we can list him among our friends now hopefully.”
Nick jammed with the band frequently and during one Chicago show Mavis Staples joined both artists on stage for a spine-tingling version of ‘The Weight’, which you can see them rehearsing on YouTube. Tweedy produced the gospel queen’s last album and is set to work on her next release.
“Any time around Mavis is very special,” he enthuses. “I’ve been lucky to spend a lot of time with her through working on the record. She is kind of an angel and makes everyone feel better about themselves and it’s an amazing thing to get to be around.