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Sound Advice: Musician Jeff Tweedy to Discuss New Book at Walnut Hills High School | Music Feature | Cincinnati

todayNovember 1, 2023 5

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Photo: Sammy Tweedy

Jeff Tweedy

This story is featured in CityBeat’s Nov. 1 print edition.

Jeff Tweedy is a busy man. Not only has he been touring almost nonstop over the last two years behind a pair of stellar Wilco records (2022’s sprawling Cruel Country and the recently minted Cousin, which is more concise if no less effective), but the 56-year-old Chicagoan has also written three books in recent years, starting with his incisive and uncommonly candid 2018 memoir Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), followed in 2020 by How to Write One Song, a songwriting manual of sorts that’s both practical and philosophical. Now comes World Within a Song: Music That Changed My Life and Life That Changed My Music.

As the subtitle suggests, the book delves into 50 songs that have influenced Tweedy largely from his childhood through his coming of age in the early 1980s — from Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message” to The Replacements’ “God Damn Job” and Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” In fact, Tweedy admits that Dylan is his biggest influence, writing, “I can’t think of any other artist I love more. And whether they admit it or not (or in some cases whether or not they’re even aware of it), I believe every songwriter wants some piece of what Dylan has. His poetic gifts, his prolificacy, his longevity, his mystique, his hair! He’s like the guy who invented walking upright. Even if you don’t know who he is, you should know you owe him a lot.”

Tweedy describes the impact each song has had on him through conversational prose that’s always personal, often unexpected and frequently humorous. And for a guy who has led one of the enduringly vital (critically and otherwise) bands of the last three decades, he’s not afraid to admit things others might deem embarrassing, especially when it comes to matters of taste.

Jeff Tweedy’s book event at Walnut Hills High School is on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. Info: josephbeth.com.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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