I've listened to a number of episodes now, and have enjoyed it, but if I may I'd like to offer a bit of constructive criticism based on a couple things I noticed in the Art of Almost episode.
When talking about Glenn's contribution to the song they make a couple of unforced errors. They say he plays a cimbalom. They don't know what this is, and guess that it is some sort of cymbal. That's not a bad guess based on its name, and I'm sure 99.9% of people in the world don't know what a cimbalom is (I didn't know for sure, and I'm a musician who has played in numerous school orchestras with well outfitted percussion departments) but it's actually a stringed instrument played with mallets, very similar to a hammer dulcimer. A quick Google search would have allowed them to explain what this instrument is, maybe narrowed in on the sound it's contributing to the song, etc. This would have added some interesting content to the episode, which is better than guessing and being wrong.
Example of a cimbalom being played:
Another thing was their discussion of percussion in general. They're right that listing "percussion" in album credits is ambiguous, and they describe it as anything having to do with rhythm. This description is not correct. In addition to rhythmic instruments, the percussion family includes many instruments used for melody and harmony, and others for sound effects (vibraslaps, for example). One of the melodic percussion instruments Glenn uses is crotales, which are tuned metal discs and are used in a similar way as a xylophone or glockenspiel. One example of his use of crotales is I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, which you can see below.
I enjoy the podcast and I'm glad it exists. I hope this criticism won't be taken as anything other than suggestions.
That's a fair point, I typically will look at the rundown for who played what (if available... newer Wilco albums don't have as much info for song-by-song, unfortunately) and will look up any weird instruments I'm not familiar with, for instance on At My Window Sad and Lonely I noticed Billy plays a "bouzouki" and off the top of my head I wouldn't have been able to tell you what that is. But in that situation I caught that before we recorded and was able to quickly do some research. Clearly for Art of Almost I didn't do that, which is too bad because explaining what a cimbalom is, is exactly the kind of in depth, slightly nerdy stuff I want to share. So I probably should have just done my due diligence instead of guessing! Seems like I was caught off guard with that one. I want the show to find a good balance between being informative and feeling like a fun conversation between friends. So I don't want it to feel too structured or rehearsed, but there's probably a good balance we can find. I do try to research each song before hand but I also like going into these not knowing exactly where the conversation will flow or what Jason thinks and feels about individual songs.
But thanks for the clarification, I think doing a "corrections" segment every once in awhile will be fun, so I'll mention it there (unfortunately we're trying to record ahead so we have a large bank of episodes before Jason's child is born this winter, so it won't be able to set the record straight till we're into the Cs). Fair point about the percussion instruments too, I tend to think when there's a blanketed "percussion" credit that it's just shakers/tambourines but you're right in that isn't fair for all percussion instruments.
The other piece of feedback we've gotten is we don't always delve too deeply into what a song means. Sometimes, that's fine, like for Christ For President, it's right there in the title. Other times, like At Least That's What You Said, there was probably opportunity to talk about the lyrics a little more in-depth. Though I also don't want to get too into the weeds of dissecting each lyric Jeff writes, again, there's a balance in there somewhere to find. I tend to think much more about the songs sonically or the story behind the songs, lyrics can become an after thought for me at times, so I'm working on that.
Another change you'll notice after these initial batch of episodes is we lock down the format for the show a little more which I think has a big payoff for just keeping things organized and focused.
Again, thanks for listening and caring enough to offer your thoughts!