I Don’t Like Uncle Tupelo or Bands that Sound Like Uncle Tupelo

I just realized that yesterday.  I don’t actively dislike Uncle Tupelo–I’m not going around kicking Uncle Tupelo fans or anything–, but I don’t think they’re nearly as great as their reputation.  They’re just a band and a band a little too in love with the sound of their own unique spot in history.


But why would you want to be a band that sounds like Uncle Tupelo?

Yesterday, when Mrs. Wigglebottom and I were walking by the big red brick house, we heard blaring, at six in the morning, what sounded like Uncle Tupelo.  And when we got around to the back of the house, the porch light was still on and there were two young hipsters standing by an open car door, listening to some band that sounds like Uncle Tupelo, and the one was pointing out stuff on the CD case to the other.

There are times, when you live in Nashville, where you cannot help but think, "Holy shit.  How weird is it that I live in Nashville?"  I feel like that when I’m staring out the windows at the Hall of Fame or when I’m wandering around the guest parking at Sony BMG looking for an obvious front entrance or when I was standing on stage at the Belcourt, just me and a microphone, just like everyone else who’s ever stood on stage at the Belcourt, from the Opry on down.

And I felt like I was intruding a little bit on what was clearly one of those moments for these guys–where you’ve been up all night because you’re so excited about this thing you think you’ve got a hold of, this thing you think is going to transform you from living in Nashville to living in Nashville.

Who knows?   Maybe they’re right.

But I kind of suspect that a band that sounds just like Uncle Tupelo might not be the thing that helps you make that leap.


4 thoughts on “I Don’t Like Uncle Tupelo or Bands that Sound Like Uncle Tupelo

  1. OK, this post makes me nostalgic for a certain music list I used to be on, but nostalgic in an "I’m sitting at my desk at work needing to stifle my laughter and I wish the list still was alive so I could share this post with the people on it" kind of way.

  2. I’m a latecomer to alt-country and never listened to Uncle Tupelo, though I absolutely love one of the spinoff bands, Wilco. I wonder if their first album, which is very country, is comparable. Time to illegally download some Uncle T.

  3. Steve, you will at least appreciate "I Got Drunk" which could have been the theme song of your blog when I first started reading it. I do love that song.

  4. Aunt B…

    I wish you had posted the name of the band they were listening to. Because the reason I found your post was because I put in the search phrase “sounds like uncle tupelo” into google. You see, I am an old guy… 45 this month… and the first time I saw them was at “Bid Day Bash” around 1986 on the front lawn of the Delta Upsilon house (I think) at the University of Missouri, Columbia. I remember all the frat guys walking around looking confused with a look on their faces that said (who the hell hired these guys for our party…. as Uncle Tupelo continued to do covers of Black Flag songs, Sex Pistols songs, even a tounge in cheek cover of Jump by Van Halen).

    I saw them many times after that and was at their last two shows at Missisippi Nights (and since that was before the days of the internet to look up such things I kept wondering what was going on between Jay and Jeff when I would watch them on stage). Anyway, I’ve been looking (unsucessfully) for 20 years for a band that “sounds like uncle tupelo”. Son Volt and Gob Iron have come the closest, but even Jay Farrar (and I love Son Volt and Gob Iron) doesn’t get it (probably doesn’t want to get it) the exactly right.

    Incidently, for some reason Wilco never did it for me. I have to admit though I always liked Jay’s songs more than Jeff’s.


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