Photo by Sammy Tweedy
Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy has announced a new solo album, titled Love Is The King. The new record is due out Oct. 23. The record will be released shortly after Tweedy’s second book, How To Write One Song, comes out on Oct. 13. In addition to the record announcement, Tweedy shared two singles from the album: “Guess Again” and the title track “Love Is The King.”
“At the beginning of the lockdown I started writing country songs to console myself. Folk and country type forms being the shapes that come most easily to me in a comforting way. ‘Guess Again’ is a good example of the success I was having at pushing the world away, counting my blessings — taking stock in my good fortune to have love in my life,” noted Tweedy in a press release. “A few weeks later things began to sound like ‘Love Is The King’ — a little more frayed around the edges with a lot more fear creeping in. Still hopeful but definitely discovering the limits of my own ability to self soothe.”
Cate Le Bon also wrote an essay about Tweedy’s new record; read excerpts of her piece (via press release) below.
Tweedy will perform a drive-in show on Sept. 18 at the Outdoor Theater in McHenry, Ill. He has announced that the show will be livestreamed; purchase tickets to watch here.
Listen to “Guess Again” and “Love Is The King” below!
Cate Le Bon on Love Is The King
It was inside Jeff Tweedy’s second home, The Loft in Chicago, that Love Is The King was recorded in April of 2020, surrounded by an assemblage of treasured instruments and loved ones in a world that felt more and more alien by the day. Not long into Wilco’s North American tour, Tweedy’s natural instinct to return home was realized when all further dates were abandoned. He escaped the anxiety and dislocation of being out at sea during a worldwide crisis and fell into the familiarity of the studio. With his sons, Spencer and Sammy, by his side, he set the task of writing and recording a song a day until they held an album in their hands. Creativity/music was their comfort food. Rather than directly addressing the significant disruption unfolding outside, Tweedy looked inwards and examined the matters that fear, separation and vulnerability pulled focus on.
The candor with which he calls upon the nourishing elements of nature, gratitude and love is effortless. His wisdom is frank and possesses a glorious wit as he accepts without resistance the inherent duality of living and loving.
Songs unfold with the poetic structure of short films—his language poised and concise, personal but collectively shared. Comforting country songs paint vivid scenes of escapism. Songs of separation become eulogies to the love he is apart from. He sings of the world falling apart and whistles a solo. Joy against sorrow.
Poetry and music animate the human struggles associated with a particular time more so when they don’t attempt to sing to the times directly but allow them, unfettered, to permeate the process.
The initial impetus was to self-soothe as a family and shield in the comfort of creativity. However, on Love Is The King, Tweedy has balanced the books and penned a beautifully honest ode to love and hope. He has documented a time in history through the personal lens of shared human experience.
There is solace here for all who need it.