I’ve been a fan of Wilco for a while now. They’re the only international act I’ve paid to see more than twice, and their diverse and ecclectic catalogue has variously appealed to my teenage and adult hearts. In my opinion, they haven’t put a foot wrong.
Naff as it sounds, Wilco’s music is a constant inspiration to me. I’ve discovered the seeds for stories and poems in the soundscapes of their songs. For instance, there’s an old story of mine, ‘Gun Grey Maverick’, that has many parallels to the song ‘Bull Black Nova’, and various other Tweedy lyrics have springboarded me towards my own writing ideas. As such, I have to credit Wilco and Jeff Tweedy as major influences. They were instrument in my formative years and played a part in helping me discover my writing voice.
This isn’t so much about me spruiking my favourite band (although there’s a degree of that – check out Summerteeth and The Whole Love); it’s about acknowledging and celebrating their impact on my development. I named this blog Art of Almost after the Wilco track of the same name. This was not fanboyism; rather, the song has untold significance to me. Its mad, nervous energy resonates deeply with me, and the lyrics, in my opinion, are masterful and deeply personal. The phrase, Art of Almost, immediately felt right for the title of my blog. I’m someone who agonises over titles, so it’s amazing how quickly it occurred to me to use that one. Like good art, Art of Almost is evocative, open to interpretation. It felt, to me, a mournful and powerful arrangement of words.
I fear this is getting uncomfortably earnest, so I’ll leave you with a clip of Wilco performing ‘Art of Almost’ on Letterman, and also the lyrics because, well, they’re outstanding. Here’s hoping reading this inspires you to check out Wilco’s music (rather than unsubscribe because you don’t want to hear this bleeding heart’s gushy love letter to his favourite band)!
No, I froze
I can’t be so
Far away from my wasteland
I’ll never know when I might ambulance
Or hoist the horns with my own hands
I heard a faint olé – true love
But I had other ways to hurt myself
I could open up my heart and fall in
I could blame it all on dust
The art of almost
I hold it up, shake the grail
Dissipate across the waves, tomorrow
I’ll have all the love
I could ever ache
And I’ll leave almost with you
The art of almost