I was a little late getting into the music of Wilco. It wasn't until 2002 and the release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot that I slowly began to take notice. In the following year, I ended up buying and obsessing over the rest of the group's catalogue - Summerteeth, Being There, and their first album - the sadly underlooked alt-country classic - A.M. Around this time I considered myself a serious songwriter, spending hours each day preparing for gigs, and working on new material to try out with the band I was playing in. A.M. was on constant rotation and a huge inspiration to my writing at this time. But little did I know, A.M. (notably "Passenger Side") may have also saved my life one night.
While living in Boston, I'd occasionally travel home to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to visit my family. Depending on traffic, the trip took anywhere from 7 to 13 hours. So to save time, I'd usually leave at midnight on a Thursday or Friday and arrive in the early morning hours of the following day. Some thought I was a little nuts to do these drives on my own, but I really enjoyed them. It gave me a chance to clear my head, and catch up on a ton of new music. One early morning, I started drifting off at the wheel and heading straight into a steep ditch. As I was hitting the grass, I woke up to the sound of Jeff Tweedy singing the opening lines to "Passenger Side, making it back on the highway just in time.
Hey wake up!/ Your eyes weren't open wide
For the last couple of miles/ You've been swerving from side to side
You're gonna make me spill my beer if you don't learn how to steer