Jeff Tweedy Singing Songs of Fear and Hope

I can’t think of any song, sacred or otherwise, that sums up my feelings about […]

David Zahl / 2.1.08

I can’t think of any song, sacred or otherwise, that sums up my feelings about Jesus better than “Reservations” by Wilco. Though the song isn’t actually about Jesus, I’ve always wondered what its writer, Jeff Tweedy, makes of Christianity. That he’s interested in it is undeniable. I even remember reading an interview where he admitted to gravitating toward the Gospel content of older country songs.

A quick look at some of Wilco’s recent setlists confirm this: “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down”, “Airline To Heaven”, “Christ For President”, “Be Not So Fearful”, “War On War”, “Theologians”, “The Ruling Class”, etc – they’ve even covered “In Christ, There Is No East Or West” a couple times!

Still, he’s hard to nail down, and maybe that’s for the best. During a solo show in 2005 at Messiah College (a small Christian school in PA), he had this to say:

“I sincerely have a lot of respect for the Christian faith and of all people of faith… You gotta have something in this world.

I don’t think it’s weird at all for someone that’s into rock music to sing songs about Jesus or Satan or fear or hope…. I think one of the things that’s really beautiful about rock music is that it’s one of rare places that people go in their lives where they join together with a bunch of people and raise their voices and sing along with somebody and transcend themselves to find themselves as a part of humanity as opposed to being apart from humanity. And I think that that’s a beautiful thing…

Unfortunately there have been a lot of times where people have missed that experience in church, and they’ve found it in other places without knowing that’s what they were finding. Anyway, that’s where I feel like I’ve gotten where I am.”