The Long Cut

The band Uncle Tupelo is responsible for inspiring my now unquenchable love for music. Sure, Springsteen, Dylan and the Stones started this voyage during my childhood, but it all really took off one Sunday afternoon while sitting in a college buddy's apartment. The previous night, one of my good friends from college had a friend down from Maine - he was in town to see Uncle Tupelo. At the time I'd never heard a note of Uncle Tupelo - actually, I'd never even heard of Uncle Tupelo. The following morning as we all sat around rehashing stories from the night before, I turned to Andrew (the dude from Maine) and said, "So how was that band?" The painfully laconic Andrew said, "Great." Since I knew this guy to be a man of very few words, "great" meant something. I asked Andrew if I could hear a song or two. Without reply, he heads out to his car, returns with Uncle Tupelo's "Anodyne" and pops it in the cd player. Literally five seconds into "New Madrid" (nice touch skipping to track six), I pick my head up from the newspaper, peer over to my close buddy Negri and it's instantaneous. "WHO THE HELL IS THIS?!?!?!" is the look on Negri's face.

We proceeded to listen to the record about three times, at which point Negri fired up his piece-of-shit truck and we headed down to Newbury and both picked up "No Depression", "March 16-20, 1992" and of course, "Anodyne". That was it for me. For the next few weeks and until today, Uncle Tupelo changed it all. This was real music. This was heart. This was balls out rock, country and folk. This was spirit.

Two months after this night Uncle Tupelo broke up and fractured into Wilco and Son Volt. I've now seen Wilco about 30-40 times and Son Volt about half that. Uncle Tupelo started it all.

As Jeff Tweedy bellows on the third track, "Come on let's take the long cut, I think that's what we need." Damn straight, Jeff.