Back in April, Wilco announced their 12th studio album Cruel Country will be released Friday, May 27. A double album that has the Chicago band leaning into the Country music label that has been following them since their debut in 1995. Cruel Country is a double LP clocking in at over an hour of Jeff Tweedy written songs recorded at their cozy recording studio The Loft in Chicago. This album also marks the first time all six members of Wilco recorded an album live in the same room since their 2011 project The Whole Love.
We were given two singles leading up to this release. The lead single “Falling Apart (Right Now)” is an up-tempo ballad about someone down on their luck. Wilco followed that up with the tender “Tired Of Taking It Out On You”, a slow jam dedicated to volatile emotions and the people surrounded by them.
Although all the tracks on this album are now freshly recorded, bandleader Tweedy has been teasing some of these songs for almost a year. During quarantine, Tweedy would frequently go live on Instagram to interact with fans and play originals or covers with his family’s band appropriately named “Tweedy”. During these jam sessions, the Wilco frontman would perform unreleased material. Most, if not all, of those song demos we heard, have found a home on Cruel Country. Glide has compiled the strongest of these demos below.
Hints (working title) – Wilco
This demo apperared on the Tweedy show on March 8 2021. At the time “Hints” was just a working title but that is the name that ended up on the official tracklist at track 3.
“I Am My Mother” by Jeff Tweedy w/Spencer Tweedy 12.16.21
“I Am My Mother” is the intro to Cruel Country. Jeff Tweedy performed an early version of the track with his son Spencer.
“Darkness is Cheap” – Jeff Tweedy
Track 8 on Wilco’s latest is “Darkness is Cheap”. This track was first performed solo by Jeff Tweedy in January of 2021.
“Ambulance – Jeff Tweedy“
Ambulance comes in at track 4. The somber track was premiered on April 8, 2021, the question is will the album version be as haunting as the demo?
“Tired of Taking It Out on You” by Jeff Tweedy 3.1.22 at Largo
This is the first live performance of the second single from Cruel Country. Tweedy performed it in an intimate Los Angeles setting on March 1st of this year.