Here’s a clip of Mid-West Americana supergroup Golden Smog, made up of members from the Jayhawks, Wilco, Soul Asylum, Big Star, The Replacements, and other bands from the Minneapolis area, with a track originally appearing on their 1998 third album Weird Tales – “Looking Forward to Seeing You”. On this particular ocasion, the band are performing at a Barack Obama rally in February of this year.
The word ‘Supergroup’ tends to be a bit of a tricky term. It’s a term which can often imply a war of egos that produces something of a novel listening experience, but ultimately not a very deep one. Or, it can mean that the members of said supergroup are so self-conscious about their not sounding like a war of egos that the music doesn’t end up with any kind of personality.
With this band, neither case applies. What does come across is the sound of a few guys playing music just for the hell of it, even if the guys in question are extremely good songwriters. On the Weird Tales album and on this song “Looking Forward to Seeing You”, there’s a loose atmosphere and an earthy approach to the production that gives the record loads of personality, and imbue the performances with a refreshing, casual feel. The album has a real ‘recorded it in the front room after dinner and a few glasses of red wine’ vibe, with the Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and Neil Young being some of the main musical reference points.
The connections between the musician stem from their involvement in the mid-Western Americana scene, with the respective full-time bands and the pressures of success in the background of this, their hobby band, their fun band. Members of Golden Smog (named after Fred Flintstone’s on stage jazz singer moniker in the Flintstones TV show, while he sings with jazz musician Hotlips Hannigan‘s band…) are many, as the group tends to be a bit of a revolving door in terms of personnel, although Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and Gary Louris of the Jayhawks are two frequent contributors.
The band started off in 1989 as a covers band, playing entire sets dedicated to the Eagles, or to top forty radio hits. From here, the group became a vehicle for songwriting of members who came and went, some of those writers being secondary writers in their full-time groups. Since ’89, five albums and a ‘greatest hits’ has been recorded under the Golden Smog name, with an active band website and frequent live appearances.
For more information, check out the Golden Smog MySpace page.
Also, check out the Golden Smog artist page on their label, Lost Highway.