Big news out of Duluth today via Seattle via Chicago: Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy has produced the new Low record, “The Invisible Way,” which is slated for a March 19 release on Sub Pop Records. The Seattle label announced those juicy tidbits along with a note from the Duluth trio’s frontman Alan Sparhawk describing the collaboration. He said of Tweedy: “He spoke a language we understood, but then took us effortlessly into the mystery.”
Wilco’s and Low’s members have long been tour mates and compatriots. Among their highlights together was the infamous/beloved Duluth show in Bayfront Park just after Labor Day 2007, which was plagued by wintery sleet and wind. Sparhawk was also on hand to see Tweedy & Co. earn a key to the city at its Bayfront show this past summer. He said Low's crew finally stopped in during a 2010 tour to check out Wilco’s studio in Chicago, The Loft, and fell in love with the space as well as Tweedy’s work producing Mavis Staples’ 2010 album “You Are Not Alone.” Sparhawk said of Wilco HQ: “It’s a great place—a sea of instruments in a relaxed, open working environment.”
The Sub Pop announcement also includes a few interesting details about the new album, too, including the fact that it is heavily laced with piano, and that his wife and bandmate Mimi Parker sings five of the songs on it: “She usually only does one or two, despite being a fan favorite,” Sparhawk quipped. "The Invisible Way" will coincide with Low's 20th anniversary as a band.
To tide fans over and start the promotional roll-out of the new record, the trio has posted a new six-song live EP on its own website, which was recorded during its tour this past summer with Death Cab for Cutie. The EP, titled “Plays Nice Places,” is available as a free download (with an email address) and includes Death Cab leader Ben Gibbard playing bass on one of the tracks, “Words.” Suffice it to say Low has many friends/fans in high places.
Word is Low tried out a few new tunes at its Cedar Cultural Center show last weekend (when many of us were watching the Replacements tribute across town). Steve Cohen shot some great photos at the Cedar that night on display here.