Jeff Tweedy’s Six Favourite Books About Music

“The feeling I get when I write is the sense that time is simultaneously expanding and disappearing – and that I’m simultaneously also free of ‘me’. That’s the main reason I wanted to put my thoughts on song writing down in book form to share with everyone so inclined.”

Jeff Tweedy said that. Tweedy, as you probably know, is the singer and songwriter with Wilco and now an acclaimed author. His first book, the 2018 memoir ‘Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back)’, was the story of a life less ordinary from the backstreets of Belleville, Illinois to international stardom with Wilco and is a great read for anyone who grew up obsessed with music. “Listening to music made a better self than the one I was stuck with,” he has said.

Tweedy’s new book, ‘How To Write One Song’, is a philosophical look at creativity and more specifically the creative process. It’s a thought-provoking read and one that has prompted many readers into doing something artistic during the quieter moments 2020 has given us all. “I’m well-suited to quarantine,” he has said. “I’ve tended to keep a pretty regimented work schedule and a small isolation pod, even before the pandemic.”

With these moments of splendid isolation in mind, and ahead of Tweedy bringing Wilco and their pioneering back catalogue to the deer park in June 2021, we asked Tweedy for a list oh his favourite books about music to share with our community. Luckily, he responded with six of the best…

 

1. ‘Really the Blues’ by Mezz Mezzrow

The story of a white kid who fell in love with black culture and, drawn by the revelation of the blues, followed the music along the jazz avenues of Chicago, New Orleans and New York.

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2. Chronicles Volume 1 by Bob Dylan

Spending 19 weeks on The New York Times ‘Best Seller’ list, the book covers three specific points from Dylan’s career: 1961 and his debut album, 1970 and ‘New Morning’ and 1989 and ‘Oh Mercy’.

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3. Your Cheating Heart: Biography of Hank Williams by Chet Flippo

A sad, strange and moving book to cover the sad, strange and moving tale of country music’s original outlaw.

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4. Country: Living Legends & Dying Metaphors in America’s Biggest Music by Nick Tosches

An exploration of country music in America and its forgotten roots and dark history.

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5. Silence: Lectures & Writings by John Cage

A collection of the essays and lectures that have made John Cage’s name synonymous with all that is fascinating in contemporary music.

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6. America Over the Water: A Historic Journey into the Cultural Roots of Traditional American Music by Shirley Collins

The chronicle of a year spent discovering the traditional musicians of the American South, including Mississippi Fred McDowell, Muddy Waters and many more.

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Jeff Tweedy’s new book, ‘How To Write One Song’, is out now