Jay Bennett died on Saturday night. He was, I am increasingly convinced, the source of much of what I love about Wilco’s music, as the five albums made with his input — 1996’s Being There through 2001’s yankee hotel foxtrot — are the ones to which I always return. The records Wilco made on either side of the Jay Bennett era haven’t moved me nearly as much.
I attribute this more to Bennett’s pop sensibility and studio wizardry, which made a song like “Secret of the Sea” from Mermaid Ave. Vol. II what it was, than to his lead guitar work, which was, if more traditional than Jeff Tweedy’s, also a lot more fun to hear. Continue reading