Wilco will release a new 21-track double album called Cruel Country on May 27 through their own dBpm imprint. As the title suggests, Cruel Country finds the band leaning into their country proclivities, and Jeff Tweedy reflects:
“There have been elements of Country music in everything we’ve ever done [but] we’ve never been particularly comfortable with accepting that definition, the idea that I was making Country music. But now, having been around the block a few times, we’re finding it exhilarating to free ourselves within the form, and embrace the simple limitation of calling the music we’re making Country.”
The new album was also recorded with the band playing live in the room together without baffles separating them – the first time they’d recorded that way since 2007’s Sky Blue Sky. Tweedy says:
“It’s a style of recording that forces a band to surrender control and learn to trust each other, along with each others’ imperfections, musical and otherwise. But when it’s working the way it’s supposed to, it feels like gathering around some wild collective instrument, one that requires six sets of hands to play.”
The first fruit of this method to be shared is “Falling Apart (Right Now)”, and while it is not the most densely arranged Wilco song ever, you can certainly hear the energy being shared between the players as they ramble through this little country bop. It brings an added pep to the track, where the guitars twang and Tweedy takes on a slight inflection as he sings about the blues, tears, bruised hearts and sticking together – y’know, classic country shit.
Check out the video for “Falling Apart (Right Now)” below or find the track on streaming platforms.