Jay Farrar’s Woody Guthrie Album: I Knew Wilco Comparisons Were Inevitable


Of all the musicians I’ve interviewed over the past decade, I’ve probably spoken with Jay Farrar more than anyone else. We’ve talked about his solo material, Son Volt, Gob Iron, Uncle Tupelo, Jack Kerouac and, now, Woody Guthrie.

Farrar’s latest project is “New Multitudes,” a collaboration with Yim Yames of My Morning Jacket, Will Johnson of Centro-matic and Anders Parker of Gob Iron on previously unrecorded lyrics written by Woody Guthrie.

They’re not the first to get access to the repository of Guthrie lyrics — in fact, Farrar’s old Uncle Tupelo bandmate Jeff Tweedy was messing with Guthrie lyrics in the late ’90s when Wilco teamed with Billy Bragg on a pair of “Mermaid Avenue” records — but their take is a little different than anyone else’s.

Farrar chatted with me for this Spinner Q&A about “New Multitudes,” following in Wilco’s footsteps and other bygone writers he wouldn’t mind working with.

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