Uncle Tupelo’s ‘Anodyne’ at 25: An Oral History

When Americana pioneers Uncle Tupelo released their major-label debut, Anodyne, on October 5th, 1993, it should have been the beginning of something big.

In a way, it was. Led by Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy from tiny Belleville, Illinois, the alt-country movement’s promising breakout band was packing clubs in major cities across America and Europe, not just the college towns where they spent years building their fan base.

They were following up their left-turn acoustic record, March 16-20, 1992, recorded with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, with their best record yet — one that amplified the band’s strongest assets, the marriage of Jay Farrar’s yearning heartland spirit with Jeff Tweedy’s punk-rock soul.

Eventually, the friction between lifelong friends Farrar and Tweedy brought down the band at their biggest moment. Anodyne is where the fissures in their friendship, and Uncle Tupelo, grew into a fault and spawned two of Americana music’s biggest bands, Son Volt and Wilco.

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Originally published on RollingStone.com on October 5, 2018