Discovery: Jay Bennett
The unwritten mission statement of the “Discovery” series is to turn you on to something I’ve recently been turned on to. There, it’s written now, prepositions and all. Jay Bennett isn’t a new discovery: He was, of course, a major player in Wilco and the insufficiently sung imagination behind the greatness of Summerteeth and Mermaid Avenue. His solo records since being thrown under the Wilco bus (that’s a metaphor) are uneven but sometimes brilliant.
Somehow I missed late-2008′s Whatever Happened I Apologize, despite it being available as a complete and free download at Rock Proper and issued under a Creative Commons license. It’s a much more modest record than 2006′s excellent, Imperial Bedroom-esque Magnificent Defeat, but the songs, acoustic and demo-like, are more personal and emotional, especially the sweetly guitar-slid “Without the Benefit of Sight.”