The Archives : Jay Bennett & Edward Burch's "The Palace at 4am" (2002)

When Jay Bennett played his final show with Wilco on July 4, 2001, instead of wallowing, he jumped into the studio with his pal Ed Burch and recorded the fantastic The Palace at 4am. With Jeff Tweedy no longer at his side, the record fell under the radar, but it's a beautiful pop mix recalling the best of Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello.

Only a few folks know what really led to Bennett's dismissal/departure from Wilco, but it would be hard to argue that his talents and input opened up Tweedy's mind and musical palette. And please excuse the fact that I just used the word palette; I just couldn't come up with anything else. Bennett was instrumental in Wilco's three best records: Being There, Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, not to mention the two Mermaid records. Since Bennett's been gone, the band's output has unquestionably suffered. A Ghost Is Born has its moments, but as a whole, is subpar by Wilco standards. 2007's Sky Blue Sky is a step above AGIB but still doesn't reach the trifecta that Bennett played a huge part in creating.

Back to Bennett's first record post-Wilco. From "Talk To Me" and "Forgiven" to "Like a Photograph" and "Little White Cottage", it could be argued that Bennett has released the best record by either Tweedy or Bennett since Bennett played his last lick with the band in Grant Park on Independence Day, 2001. Some of the songs are simple pop numbers, while others recall the sprawling sound that Bennett made a staple of the Wilco sound. If you loved Wilco's sound through 02, you should own this record.

Here are five songs from the record:

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

nicely done. jay bennett's impact on wilco is hard to overstate. dude is so badass

Campbell said...

his new record's available for free here: http://rockproper.com/archive/whatever-happened-i-apologize.html