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Wilco: Small Moments And Big Lessons

A song about the fraught relationship between a father and son, Wilco's "One Sunday Morning" spans more than a lifetime of complexities.
Courtesy of the artist
A song about the fraught relationship between a father and son, Wilco's "One Sunday Morning" spans more than a lifetime of complexities.

A song even longer than its title would indicate, Wilco's "One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley's Boyfriend)" opens with the confessional, "This is how I tell it / Oh, but it's long." And, at 12 minutes, long it is. Musically speaking, the track — about the fraught relationship between a father and son — is simple, repetitive and beautiful. The song, which closes out this fall's The Whole Love, is basically a call-and-response between an acoustic guitar and a slightly dreamy, sparse piano; it's as if the band got addicted to the melody and riff and just didn't want "One Sunday Morning" to end.

One of the least self-indulgent 12-minute songs in recent memory, the sweetly rambling "One Sunday Morning" is expansive enough to fill a novel; the words reward careful listening. It documents small moments and big father-son lessons — "I miss being told how to live," among others — and spans more than one lifetime of complexities.

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Laurin Penland
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