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Jay Farrar guitar, vocals
Jeff Tweedy bass, guitar, vocals
Mike Heidorn drums

Ken Coomer drums (1993-1994)

Merging the bare-bones honesty of country and the pure energy of punk, Uncle Tupelo created an unforgettable blend of music so original it spawned an entire genre: alt. country. Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy & Co. were never shy about their influences, either. The band was equally adept at delivering shards of amped-up post-punk as they were acoustic-based, steel guitar-drenched melancholy, very much like the electric/acoustic master, Neil Young.

But Uncle Tupelo's charm goes deeper than their sonic variety. Lifelong friends Farrar and Tweedy had a knack for sharp songwriting that rivaled, I would argue, even the best tandems in scope and impact, if not prolificacy. More than that, their near-perfect vocals placed a stamp of authenticity on the always bleak subject matter they wrote about. When Jay Farrar sings about waking up "half drunk in a ditch" or wasting his youth in a factory, or when Jeff Tweedy sings about dropping out of high school and enlisting in the army, only to be killed, they paint vivid pictures of meaningless human existence. And even if it's not firsthand experience, it's still a harsh reminder of the difficulties of rural midwestern life.

The band called it quits in 1994 when Farrar mysteriously left the band, most likely due to a deteriorating friendship with Tweedy. Tweedy picked up the ashes of Uncle Tupelo and formed Wilco. Farrar recruited old Tupelo drummer Mike Heidorn and brothers Dave and Jim Boquist to form Son Volt.

Please check out All-Music Guide's Uncle Tupelo entry for more information.

Check out my Uncle Tupelo album reviews

The Best Uncle Tupelo Sites on the Web...
Uncle Tupelo at the Gumbo Pages
Uncle Tupelo
Uncle Tupelo Discography
Hometown, Same Town Blues

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Above photo and logo courtesy of "Uncle Tupelo" --