R.I.P. Jay Bennett, 1963-2009
Illinois musician Jay Bennett was found dead early Sunday morning at his home in Urbana, IL. As a former member of Wilco, Bennett’s versatile talents may be best remembered as an irreplaceable contributor to some of the band’s most critically-acclaimed works including Being There (1996), Summerteeth (1999) and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001) . The film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, which documented the tumultuous recording and production process of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, captured Bennett as the talented songwriter and artist he was, while in the midst of an unfortunate clash of personality and opinion with the rest of the band. He left Wilco soon afterwards.
Bennett continued writing and performing, releasing five solo albums in the new millennium including his latest, Whatever Happened I Apologize (2008), which may be found free of charge at www.rockproper.com.
Bennett was 45.
[via The Chicago Sun-Times]
UPDATE: Jeff Tweedy has posted a response from the band:
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.