Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jay Bennett: 1963-2009

As you've probably heard by now, former Wilco multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett died Sunday in his sleep.

The 45-year-old performer was found in his Urbana, Ill. home. Cause of death has not been released.

The news comes just weeks after Bennett filed a lawsuit against his former Wilco bandmate Jeff Tweddy over royalties and his part in the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot documentary "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart."

A lot of things have been said about Bennett, even on this blog.

But his contributions to Wilco albums, including their masterpiece YHF, are undeniable.

He's remembered as a gifted arranger and all-around musician, but his public film battles with Tweedy added another dose of drama to Wilco's tortuous history.

Bennett was weeks away from hip surgery and his latest solo record. Seems a terrible shame. R.I.P. Jay.

Tweedy posted the following comment on Wilco's Web site:

"We are all deeply saddened by this tragedy. We will miss Jay as we remember him -- as a truly unique and gifted human being and one who made welcome and significant contributions to the band's songs and evolution. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends in this very difficult time."

- SoR

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