R.I.P. Jay Bennett

I hate writing posts like this: Over at the Riverfront Times‘ music blog, A to Z, we reported on the death of Jay Bennett, the ex-Wilco guitarist/multi-instrumentalist. From the post, via the Chicago Sun-Times:

Jay Bennett, a rock musician with deep ties to Chicago best known as a former member of Wilco, died early Sunday morning in downstate Urbana, where he had been running a recording studio, according to a spokesman for his family…

“Early this morning, Jay died in his sleep and an autopsy is being performed,” said Edward Burch, a friend and musician who collaborated with Bennett on the 2005 album “The Palace at 4 a.m.” “The family is in mourning and is unavailable for comment at this time.”…

Bennett played in St. Louis in 2006 at Off Broadway, and released several albums via the Undertow Collective. Roy Kasten wrote about that show, also in the RFT:

…by the end of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the guitarist, songwriter and engineer who was pushing Wilco beyond alt-country into psychedelic, genre-fucked pop was out of the tape-loop and alone with his own talents. Those are considerable, as Bennett’s most recent album, The Magnificent Defeat, makes blindingly (if chaotically) clear. With out-of-control guitars, honky-tonk pianos, whack-a-mole drumming, drunk-at-noon vocals and a lost-weekend desperation, Bennett surrenders to rock & roll’s twisted glee and decadence; and against the odds of his limited voice and lyrics, somehow sounds like a winner.

Bennett was 45.