the unofficial uncle tupelo archives 

Uncle Tupelo Gets Its Act Back Together

Tim Grobaty

Press Telegram, November 13, 1993

Hey, if Christmas season can start earlier and earlier each year, there's no reason the League of Rhythm Voters can't get a leg up on its year-end music awards, and here's one mythical statuette we're ready to hand out right now: Comeback Act of the Year - Uncle Tupelo.

We caught the band last February at Bogart's where it weakly headlined a show that was stolen out from under them by opener Freedy Johnston. At that time, Uncle Tupelo's sound was marked by relentless power-chording and a jerky attack, an over-rocked and grating sound that grew old by the end of the first song.

Now the St. Louis-based group is on the road again, touring in support of its new LP, ``Anodyne'' (Sire Records), and we cautiously made our way up to the Whisky to see the show Wednesday night, not expecting greatness, but, nevertheless, there it was.

The three-piece outfit - boosted to five for a fuller concert sound - is headed by guitarist-vocalist Jay Farrar and bassist-vocalist Jeff Tweedy who, this time out managed to showcase the subtle folk and country influences that marked their brilliant debut LP, 1990's ``No Depression,'' although the band played nothing from that release.

Taking turns at the mike, Farrar and Tweedy instead concentrated heavily on their excellent new ``Anodyne'' material, playing enthusiastically, with both singers turning out rich, heartlandian vocals. It all went over great with the enthusiastic Whisky crowd, which called them back for a pair of encores, including an inspired choice, a cover of the Little Feat classic ``Willin'.''

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