Wilco's first studio album in three years, Sky Blue Sky, has been perhaps the most ardently awaited release of '07. Eager fans had taken to shouting out pleas for information to bandleader Jeff Tweedy during his recent solo acoustic tour, and the web chatter has been virtually deafening. Critic Katie Toms of London's The Observer addressed fan speculation in an advance review, declaring, with unalloyed delight: Boy, was it worth the wait.... Simple and soothing, yet rich and rewarding, this is an album you unknowingly yearn for, like a cool hand on a hot forehead. A great album from a band in their prime Sky Blue Sky is as eloquently straightforward as Wilco's last studio recording, the Grammy-winning A Ghost Is Born, was daringly experimental. Tweedy's lyrics deal forthrightly with romantic separation and reconciliation, their bittersweet quality giving way, as the album progresses, to a more uplifting, redemptive mood. Tweedy quite literally banishes the darkness on the penultimate track, the inspiring, gospel-tinged What Light the album's first single and concludes with a deeply affecting, 'til-death-do-us-part lullaby, On and On and On. There are hints of early-seventies Southern California folk-rock sweetness in the harmonies throughout the band-produced Sky Blue Sky, a bluesy Allman Brothers feel to the guitar /keyboard interplay, and plenty of brash guitar solos that take songs like You Are My Face and Shake It Off in thrilling, unexpected directions. This is especially good news for the crowds that will fill the Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, this June, where the band plays the first U.S. date of its 2007 world tour in support of Sky Blue Sky. Principal songwriter Tweedy cut these tracks in the band's Chicago studio with members John Stirratt (bass, vocals), Glenn Kotche (drums), Mike Jorgensen (keyboards), Nels Cline (guitars) and Pat Sansone (guitars, keyboards, vocals) all of whom are also becoming notable performers in their own right. A Ghost Is Born co-producer Jim O'Rourke returns as music contributor.
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