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Jeff Tweedy, American Boy

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With the first public airing of the January 6th committee fresh in my mind, I found myself musing about Jeff's lyrical references to his citizenship over the years. He is very much a product of his country (as are we all) and it's fascinating to me to see the range of emotions that has stirred in him over the years. Think of his lyrics containing the word "American", or his references to "my country".

What is the earliest example you can think of? Which of these lyrics resonates most deeply with you?

This is a good time for all Americans to consider what it means to us to be an American. I can't help having the word pop out at me right now. 😕

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Answering myself here, 😆 these pop out:

"Ashes of American Flags"

From Family Ghost: "Digging holes and filling them in /I feel so American"

"I love my country/ stupid and cruel" from Cruel Country

"I am an American aquarium drinker..."

"Normal American kids"


I know I've just scratched the surface of his identification with being American. I find it fascinating, and brave, the way he embraces and confronts what it means to be a modern American.





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This is a great project and idea, I might have to end making a mixtape playlist.  With what comes out of this.  


Just some thoughts

  • Side with seeds (third verse, last 4 lines, which kinda brings up my not apathy, but general frustration)
    • But you and I will be undefeated
      By agreeing to disagree
      No one wins but the thieves
      So why side with anything?
  • Country Disappeared (all of it seems especially apt)
  • All You Fascists/Stetson Kennedy/I Guess I Planted (not necessarily Tweedy's words, but an influence for sure)
  • Let's Go Rain (more on the general frustration of where we are as a country/species)


That is all I can think of right now.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jeff’s music has helped me more than anything connect to music deeply rooted in the American experience, from bluegrass, to folk, to country, to soul. And I’m not from the Midwest, but I love the quintessentially Midwestern scenes he paints from New Madrid, to Casino Queen, to Via Chicago, to The Plains (and many more besides).


 Some of my favorite lines that best  capture that range of emotions and contradictions that come with being American:


“red eyed and blue”


“Spinning out webs of deductions and melodies, on a private beach in Michigan”


”breath in that country air; you wouldn’t like it here”


”beneath the sleeping town, with the riots raining down”


”you’ve got family out there”


”there isn’t any point in being free, when there’s nowhere else you’d rather be”


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