Being There

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By Lynne Margolis  

Sometimes an unfortunate turn of events can lead to something good. For alternative-country fans, the demise of the much-heralded Uncle Tupelo was a painful blow.  But the disappointment was soon offset by the formation of Wilco, its equally acclaimed successor.  On Being There, the band’s sophomore release, chief songwriter Jeff Tweedy crafted a sprawling double album that could serve as the White Album of the Americana movement -- a 19-track epic that spans a broad landscape of pop, country, folk and rock. 

Armed with a grab bag of instruments, including lap steel, harmonica, accordion, dobro, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and the usual guitar, bass and drums, Wilco’s five members allowed themselves the luxury to slow down and experiment in the studio while making this record.  That creative breathing room is evident in the album's leisurely pace. On Being There, the band’s music ambles from the laid-back bluesy feel of "(Was I) In Your Dreams," to the Beatlesque charm of "Hotel Arizona," to the unaffected vulnerability of "The Lonely 1."  A swirling tapestry of encyclopedic influences, this is a project that, despite its scope, still comes across as an intensely personal document. 

Veteran journalist Lynn Margolis writes about music from Austin, Texas. Her articles have appeared widely in such publications as The Austin American-Statesman, Texas Music,, and the RIAA's Grammy magazine.