Former Wilco Member Jay Bennett Dies

The 45-year-old played a number of instruments for the alternative rock band before leaving to pursue a solo career. He died in his sleep Sunday.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

When you're in that coffee shop, you can easily hear the music of Wilco, and if you do, you might raise your drink to remember a former member of that band. Jay Bennett died in his sleep yesterday of an unknown cause.

DAVID GREENE, host:

In his life, Bennett played a role in an influential band in a genre sometimes known as alt country or no depression, even Americana. He wrote songs, he played a lot of instruments for Wilco, even the toy piano.

(Soundbite of toy piano)

INSKEEP: Now after leaving Wilco, Jay Bennett pursued a solo career. He enjoyed less commercial success, but seemed okay with that. Before his death at age 45, he wrote that he knew a lot of people whose music should be heard.

GREENE: And if the music industry couldn't make it profitable, Jay Bennett said, let's just gather it up and give it away. You can read more about Jay Bennett at the All Songs Considered Blog. Just go to nprmusic.org.

(Soundbite of song, "Ashes Of American Flags")

Mr. JEFF TWEEDY (Singer/Songwriter, Wilco): I would like to salute the ashes of American flags. And all the fallen leaves filling up shopping bags.

GREENE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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