After waiting more than a year for the release of Wilco’s fourth studio album, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” fans of the Chicago band will soon find a bevy of Wilco-related projects made available. As previously reported, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” is finally due April 23 from Nonesuch after being held up for months in contractual negotiations. First single “Heavy Metal Drummer” is getting early airplay at such modern rock outlets as WOXY Cincinnati and KFSD San Diego.
On the same day, Rykodisc will release the soundtrack to the upcoming film “Chelsea Walls,” which sports the first solo music ever issued under Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy’s name. Tweedy composed instrumental score pieces with Wilco drummer Glen Kotche for the album, which also features the new Wilco song “Promising” and the band’s arrangement of the traditional “When the Roses Bloom Again.” Mekons vocalist Sally Timms previously recorded Tweedy’s arrangement of the song for her 1999 album “Cowboy Sally’s Twilight Laments for Lost Buckaroos.”
“Chelsea Walls,” which hits U.S. theaters next month, was directed by Ethan Hawke and features an ensemble cast of Uma Thurman, Kris Kristofferson, Jimmy Scott, Robert Sean Leonard, and Steve Zahn, among others. On the soundtrack, the latter pair perform Wilco’s “The Lonely 1,” which appeared on the band’s 1996 album “Being There,” while Scott covers John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy.”
Meanwhile, Jay Bennett, who exited Wilco last year, has set an April 23 release date for his first album with longtime collaborator Edward Burch. The set, titled “The Palace at 4 A.M.,” will be issued by the Chicago-based Undertow label. The pair begin an 11-date U.S. tour April 20 in Chicago.
There is also a host of prospective Wilco-related releases in the works. Perhaps of most interest to fans is an album by Tweedy, Kotche, and Jim O’Rourke, who came on board to mix “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” at Tweedy’s behest. The set has been finished for well over a year but its release has also been mired in contractual issues. While speculation is rampant that it may see the light of day later this year via Chicago’s Drag City Records, a label spokesperson had no information on the album.
“Jeff and I are huge folk-rock fans,” O’Rourke tells Billboard.com of the project he has affectionately named Nuts. “It’s not studio-oriented like the Wilco record. We wrote the songs, played them live, and we limited ourselves to one overdub on each song, and then the singing. It’s fairly dense considering it’s only five instruments at most.” Tweedy and Kotche made uncredited guest appearances on O’Rourke latest Drag City solo album, “Insignificance.”
This summer will bring Sam Jones’ long-awaited documentary “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart,” which documented the creation and subsequent controversy surrounding “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” The film begins screening this summer, and Jones promises that the DVD edition, due in the fall, will include unreleased songs, live clips, and acoustic performances. Snippets of the film can be seen at the Web site Wilcofilm.com.
Late summer or early fall is penciled in for Mammoth’s release of the album “Down With Wilco,” a collaboration between Wilco and Seattle’s the Minus 5, which features multi-instrumentalists Scott McCaughey and Ken Stringfellow along with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck. Billboard.com understands that Tweedy sings lead vocals on a handful of tracks, which are now being mixed and mastered in the U.K.
Last but not least, Columbia/Legacy is planning a tentative September release for reissues of the albums “No Depression,” “March 16-20, 1992,” and “Still Feel Gone” from Tweedy’s former band, revered alt-country act Uncle Tupelo. The retrospective “89/93: An Anthology” was released today (March 19).