NEM#146: Nels Cline Writes Jazz Fusion (And Plays Guitar for Wilco)

Though best known as lead guitarist for Wilco since 2004, Nels has recorded 30+ instrumental albums, often as band leader. We discuss “Headdress” by The Nels Cline Singers from Share the Wealth (2020), “The Nomad’s Home” from Coward (2009), and “Fives & Sixes” from his first solo release, Angelica (1987). We conclude by listening to “Imperfect Ten” by The Nels Cline 4 from From Currents, Constellations (2018). Intro: “You Are My Face” by Wilco from Sky Blue Sky (2007), co-written with Jeff Tweedy. More at

Watch the Nels Cline Singers live. Here’s a live version of “Imperfect Ten.Nels plays a particularly long solo with Wilco. Yes, Nels really likes Jimi Hendrix. Watch Nels playing with Tim Berne. …And with Banyan in 2005, featuring Mike Watt. Another song from Angelica that comes up in the conversation is “Maria Alone.” Listen to Nels’ 1981 album with Eric von Essen.

A name that comes up prominently toward the end of the conversation is pianist Jimmy Rowles.

Photo by Sean Ono Lennon. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop.

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