Essential New Music: Jeff Tweedy’s “Together At Last”

As a songwriter, Jeff Tweedy has emerged as the modern equivalent of ’60s-era Bob Dylan, packing more vivid imagery and evoking more mixed emotions per minute than a roomful of similarly minded contenders. Performance has always been another matter—as has also been the case with the Jokerman, sometimes (whether live or via alternative studio versions or demos) even classic Tweedy tunes can be given a wildly different reading from one day to the next, shredding and squalling in one version and strumming softly along like summer lullabies in another. Together At Last selects various gems from Tweedy’s deep catalog and places them side by side on a shelf like select pieces of vintage bone china: beautiful to behold despite their variations. These intimate acoustic solo performances from Wilco’s Windy City loft include interpretations of some of the band’s best-loved numbers (“Muzzle Of Bees,” “I’m Always In Love,” “Via Chicago”) alongside some random side-project selections (Loose Fur’s “Laminated Cat,” Golden Smog’s “Lost Love”), unearthing nothing truly “new” but still revealing surprises and delights for the initiated.

Corey duBrowa