Songs That Weren’t Finished: Jay Bennett (1963-2009)

I’m admittedly a few months late discussing the most recent and final release from the late Jay Bennett. Honestly, I’ve never been impressed with any of his solo output since his somewhat controversial departure from the Wilco powerhouse back in 2001. Each passing album brought hope but ultimately every one left me yearning for the familiar comforts of Summer Teeth or Being There. In my eyes, Jay has never been much of a songwriter or vocalist. One could also make the argument that his skills behind the board were less than satisfying at times.

Regardless of any shortcomings and personal troubles that plagued his solo career it was high time for me to pay homage by running through the catalog one more time. Jay’s last gift to the world comes in the shape of ten raw, man-and-his-guitar laments AKA Whatever Happened I Apologize. This was my first experience with WHIA and, while it’s not going to gather him a larger following posthumously, it provides a glimpse into Jay’s final years, not only as a musician, but as a human being deeply scarred by life’s many unfortunate obstacles. Anyone entrenched in the world of music-that-matters will respect and miss him for his many contributions whether they connected with his music or not.

Jay agreed to release Whatever Happened I Apologize on the Chicago-based netlabel RockProper as a free download shortly before his passing. Sample my favorite song on the album below and head straight to the release page for more. Jay also stopped by the Daytrotter studio to record a session back in ’07 – you can download it here.

Jay Bennetti don’t have the time

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