Meet the winner of our Wilco ticket giveaway!

The Brooklyn Paper
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And the winner of our Wilco concert ticket giveaway is … Liz Swinehart of Bay Ridge!

I guess we’re just suckers for someone who danced to a Wilco song at her wedding.

“This is so awesome!” she told The Brooklyn Paper’s contest hotline crew when we called her on Tuesday afternoon. “I never win anything.”

Swinehart was one of nearly 100 people who entered our Wilco essay contest in hopes of winning a pair of tickets to the band’s July 13 concert at Keyspan Park in Coney Island.

Her essay demonstrated Wilco fanaticism in several ways:

1. She picked a great song, “Jesus, etc,” off the “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” LP.

2. She appreciated the song enough to make it the first dance at her wedding last year.

3. She wrote a great essay.

“The lyrics are simple yet soulful, haunting yet happy,” she wrote. “We moved to New York, where skyscrapers scrape together, right after our wedding. We’ve seen Wilco several times, from Seattle to Charlotte, and the live version of ‘Jesus, etc.’ never fails to turn my orbit around. Nothing would make me happier than hear Wilco with my beautiful husband in our new hometown.”

Swinehart’s was not the only solid answer we read out of the dozens of entries we received. Finalists included:

• Frank Merola of Dyker Heights, who wrote, “My favorite Wilco song is ‘Ashes of American Flags’ because 200 of my fellow soldiers from my 2006 tour of duty in Iraq did not come home. It’s like all we have are their ashes.”

• Stuart Garber of Park Slope, who cherishes “What Light,” the second-to-last song on “Sky Blue Sky.” “The album is a poignant song-cycle of a man’s struggle for equanimity during a (marital?) separation. The highly varied musical settings are perfectly calibrated to the narrator’s changing moods. In “What Light,” his struggle finally breaks free into a celebration of acceptance, in a soaring melody that recalls Dylan at his anthemic Newport-era glory.

• William Smeal of Midwood, who picked “A Shot In the Arm” for “so many reasons.” “Let’s talk first about metaphors: ‘The ashtray says.’ ‘The pillow wept.’ ‘The sun caught fire.’ Then we can talk about what a sad song it is, done with an upbeat, catchy tempo. When I listen to this song, I feel like someone understands me, and I, them. As the song spirals out in a distorted harmony, Jeff Tweedy repeats the phrase, ‘What you once were isn’t what you wanna be anymore.’ And the chorus, ‘There’s something in my veins bloodier that blood’ leaves so much to interpretation that Proust might have written it.”

There was one honorable mention, from Claude Scales of Brooklyn Heights, who wrote, “My favorite Wilco song is “Heavy Metal Drummer” from “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” because every time I hear it, I get a sense of what it would be like to lose a girlfriend to Mike McLaughlin.”

Well said.

Wilco (with Yo La Tengo) at Keyspan Park (1904 Surf Ave., at W. 19th Street in Coney Island), July 13, doors open at 6 pm. Tickets, $45 (children under 6 are free, believe it or not). For info, visit

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