A Letter to Jeff Tweedy About This Solid Sound Thing

Why it’s totally fine that he’s putting on a music festival that isn’t in Chicago.

Jeff Tweedy

Photo: Sandro; Hair and Makeup: Lisa Trunda at Ford Artists for NARS; Wardrobe Stylist: Leslie Pace; Clothing: (hat) Optimo Hats

Jeff Tweedy, with his 1960s-era 12-string Epiphone Riviera, is out playing music for someone else in Massachusetts.

Dear Jeff,

Ever since you appeared on the cover of July issue of Chicago, I know you said you wanted to take some time apart. I mean, I get it, I really do. Massachusetts has Topsiders and wayfarers and lobster rolls, and Chicago, well, we’re getting some kind of bike sharing program? Fine.

I just want you to know that even though this Solid Sound Festival you’re “curating” over there this weekend near the Berkshires in western Mass sounds pretty darn interesting, I’m not jealous. It’s a lot of Wilco side projects (plus Neko Case). It starts tomorrow. It’s not in Chicago. Not even close.

But you know what? Most of those bands will be playing in Chicago anyway, in some shape or form, later in the summer.

So, man, I’ll be there. I might even bring my toddler to see Neko Case at the Hideout and give him little baby headphones, which I would never do in Massachusetts. Because I don’t want him to start thinking khaki pants and boat shoes is an acceptable combination.

So here’s the list of where I’ll be this summer. I don’t need to go to Massachusetts to hear your so-called solid sound.

  • Wilco, Bob Dylan, and My Morning Jacket roll through Toyota Park on July 12. Tickets are $62
  • Low and Yo La Tengo both perform at the Pitchfork Music Festival on July 20. Yo La Tengo returns to play Otto’s, in DeKalb, on September 20.
  • On August 8, guitarist Nels Cline will join experimental jazz guitarist Jeff Parker onstage at Pritzker Pavilion to interpret the 1964 free jazz album Turning Point. That one’s free.
  • Glenn Kotche, Wilco’s gifted percussionist, is a composer in his own right. He wrote a score for the eclectic new-music ensemble Eighth Blackbird and will appear with them at Pritzker Pavilion on August 28. Also free.
  • Neko Case headlines the Hideout Block Party the weekend of September 6 and 7.



1 year ago
Posted by johnseven

Thank you for the bizarre stereotyping. It sounds like the only part of Massachusetts you're familiar with is Martha's Vineyard ... 20 years ago ... North Adams is a long ways away from the Kennedyesque cliche you're evoking ... working class, post industrial ... kinda like if Chicago had a love child with some mountains ...

1 year ago
Posted by Liveberkshire

Thinking all of Mass is Boston/Cape Cod is like thinking all of Illinois is Chicago or all of New York state is NYC. Extreme northwestern mass suffered the same rust belt fate as much of the great lakes area. Unlike most of the US at this point, wilco found a corner of the world that corporate america ignored. A town still predominantly made of mom and pop shops, small family farms and lots of gritty blue collar folks. Perhaps its hard to see this, but what Wilco does for a town where 10%of the population makes less than $10,000 a year and where even well educated and cultured folks battle for $10 an hour jobs or food service jobs: it is a MAJOR GIFT to the whole community. Plus clearly Wilco and friends can see ridiculously amazing natural beauty as a virtue for fans to enjoy.

Solid Sound was an entire experience, not just the concerts. There was much more to it than that. Enjoy your shows this summer.

1 year ago
Posted by ChicagoMag

Ms. Burke, I'll second the vote for "bizarre." It appears that you actually may indeed be jealous. But who am I to say?

For the record, my young kids attended Solid Sound. They happily rocked out with fellow music fans of all ages, from all over the country, wearing whatever they wanted to wear. If you have concerns about exposing your toddler to people wearing clothing combinations that are misaligned with your personal tastes, then THERE lies the problem.

Enjoy the local shows. And maybe try to branch out, or open your mind a bit. Chicago is awesome, but so are many other locales in our great country. Check 'em out.

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