Jeff Tweedy opens up about a much-discussed lyric from Wilco‘s song “She’s a Jar” in his new installment of the Audible series Words + Music, which was released today (March 3). In the below clip from Please Tell My Brothers, the artist acknowledges that the line “she begs me not to hit her” is not one “that is easy to sing” and that it is not an autobiographical reference to his marriage and/or wife Sue Miller.
“Just to be very, very clear: I’ve never hit Susie,” he says. “That part of the song was never intended to be an accurate portrayal of my relationship. The specter of domestic violence that is contained in the lyrics to that song — those are the rationalizations that I grew up with. That was just a common explanation for why a man might hit a woman, or a husband might hit a wife. The song is more abstract and impressionistic than anything I could accurately describe, narratively.”
“She’s a Jar” can be found on Wilco’s 1999 album summerteeth, which written at a time when Tweedy was struggling mightily with the demands of marriage, fatherhood, and the band’s increasingly higher profile.
Tweedy covers this and many other topics in Please Tell My Brothers, which comes as a complement to his two prior books, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) and How To Write One Song. The project includes new recordings of nine songs from his catalog, including “She’s a Jar,” “Jesus Etc.,” and “Please Tell My Brother.”
Wilco is touring extensively this spring and summer, including multi-night upcoming residences in Chicago, Port Chester, N.Y., and Reykjavik. Tweedy also has two solo shows on tap on May 19-20 at Chicago’s Vic Theatre.
As reported yesterday, he produced Rodney Crowell’s upcoming album, The Chicago Sessions, at Wilco’s Loft studio in Chicago. It will be released May 5 on New West Records.