the unofficial uncle tupelo archives 

Manuel Mendoza

Dallas Morning News, November 5, 1993

WHO: Uncle Tupelo
WHEN: Friday. Doors open at 9 p.m.
WHERE: Trees, 2707 Elm St.

Put on Uncle Tupelo's new album Anodyne, which means "pain reliever," and try to fathom that the Belleville, Ill., band cites punk rock as its major inspiration. Songs like Slate and the title track are as far from punk as they can be, except for maybe the attitude with which they're played. Recorded live in Austin with no overdubs, Anodyne is Uncle Tupelo's fourth album in three years and the first for a major label, Sire/Reprise. The music is rendered with fiddle, mandolin, banjo and dobro, as well as guitar, bass and drums. On its 1990 debut No Depression, the band used folk and country instrumentation to create a hybrid of traditional music and rock. Chief vocalist and co-songwriter Jay Farrar, 26, says his hometown, east of St. Louis, is neither in the North or South. However, since adding multi-instrumentalist Max Johnston (Michelle Shocked's brother) of Dallas and Nashville drummer Ken Coomer, the group is skewing Southern. Uncle Tupelo has come a long way from Graveyard Shift, the bluegrass-rocker that opened No Depression with a jolt, turning instead toward a low-key traditionalism. After playing '60s garage covers in high school, Mr. Farrar, bassist/vocalist/co-songwriter Jeff Tweedy and now-departed drummer Mike Heidorn formed Uncle Tupelo five years ago, influenced by the Woody Guthrie, Jimmie Rodgers and Dillards records in Mr. Farrar's parent's record collection. As the members have become better players, Mr. Farrar says, the band has delved into traditional music that is as new to them as punk rock was when it inspired them to pick up their instruments.

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