wilco

Nels Cline
nelscline.com

  The Solid Sound Festival - Wilco’s music and arts festival - takes place this weekend at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA and Nels Cline - one of Rolling Stones’ top 100 guitarists of all time - will perform at least 3 times -- twice with Wilco and once with Julian Lage, Scott Colley and Tom Rainey in a quartet called The Nels Cline Four.

Will Hermes is a Contributing Editor and Senior Critic at Rolling Stone and the author of Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever.

He joins us with his selections for the best music of 2016.

David Bowie - “Blackstar” - Blackstar
Leonard Cohen - “You Want it Darker” - You Want It Darker
Solange - “Cranes in the Sky” - A Seat at the Table
Bon Iver - “33 “GOD”’ - 22, A Million
Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc - “Wrote My Way Out” - The Hamilton MIxtape
Lori McKenna - “Giving up on Your Hometown” - The Bird & the Rifle
Miranda Lambert - “Ugly Lights” - The Weight of These Wings
Blood Orange - “Love Ya” - Blood Orange
ANOHNI - “Drone Bomb Me” - HOPELESSNESS
Angel Olsen - “Shut Up Kiss Me” - MY WOMAN
Wilco - “Normal American Kids” - Schmilco
The Roots (feat. Common & Ingrid Michaelson) - “Who Tells Your Story” - The Hamilton Mixtape

  Established in 2010, the Solid Sound Festival kicks off at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA tomorrow evening. The art and music festival is curated by Chicago-based rock band, Wilco, and even now they are in the area rehearsing while countless excellent people put the finishing touches on what is sure to be an amazing weekend of eclectic music, eye-popping art, world-class comedy, food, friends, and fun.

Wilco will play a special acoustic set on Friday night, a plugged-in set on Saturday night, and then Jeff Tweedy’s still-pretty-new band, Tweedy, will play a concert with friends to wrap up the festival on Sunday.

Jeff and his son - and skilled drummer - Spencer formed Tweedy last year and released an album, Sukierae, in September. Spencer has also played drums on albums produced by Jeff over the last few years including Mavis Staples’ One True Vine.

I sat down with them in North Adams yesterday to talk with Jeff and Spencer and was struck by their congenial and respectful their relationship is -- and thrilled to also note good-natured ribbing. To borrow a Wilco title - they have The Whole Love - it’s contagious and it’s cool. Just like Solid Sound.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

As MASS MoCA embarks on another major expansion, the contemporary art museum announced its winter/spring performance and visual arts lineup.

    Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion have a new record out today. They’ve released Wassaic Way on their own (new!) label, Route 8 Records, and will be playing all over the WAMC listening area in the coming months.

Produced by Jeff Tweedy and Patrick Sansone of Wilco, the album’s eleven original songs were recorded at that band’s famed Chicago studio, The Loft and feature the duo’s most ambitious songwriting, far-reaching arrangements and electrifying performances to date.

In this segment we speak with Sarah Lee and Johnny about their songwriting process, connecting with Tweedy and Sansone, and about some of the songs on the album.

Rich Orris

The Solid Sound Festival is curated by the rock band Wilco. So it stands to reason we’d have a member of the band on our show today - and we do! Jeff Tweedy joins us to talk about Solid Sound and other Wilco goings-on.

Then, after a quick break, his son Spencer joins us, too! Spencer is the drummer for The Blisters - the band is playing this Sunday at the festival. They’ve been together for 10 years and put out an album on their website earlier this month. The album is called “Finally, Bored” - but we have a sneaking suspicion that Spencer is anything but. (The kid is busy is what we're saying.)

  This is the third Solid Sound - and our third time broadcasting at MASS MoCA from the festival. (We’ve taken the museum over two other times, but who’s counting? … It’s us. We are counting.)

We’re set up in fine fashion in The Knuckle at MASS MoCA - just outside of the Sol LeWitt galleries and within leaping distance of many of the other attractions and stages on campus. But we won’t leap - we’ll politely walk around - this place is about to be full of enthusiastic music and art fans and we wouldn’t want to leap onto any of them.

Joining us to tell us about some of what goes into making this festival purr are Joe Thompson, Director of MASS MoCA and Alex Crothers, promoter for Higher Ground Music.

Wilco's Instagram Feed

Our friends in the rock-band, Wilco, are busy guys. In the last year they launched their own label (dBpm) and released their latest album (The Whole Love) on it - this weekend they are kicking off this year's Newport Folk Festival and playing at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY.  Next Tuesday they're playing a benefit concert at MASS MoCA - where - for the past two summers - they held the Solid Sound Festival (they plan to return with Solid Sound 3 in June of 2013). They night after the benefit they have a concert at  The Bushnell in Hartford, CT. Here, Jeff Tweedy joins us for our annual "State of the Wilco" conversation.