Uncle Tupelo was an alternative country music group from Belleville, Illinois, active between 1987 and 1994. Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy, and Mike Heidorn formed the band after the lead singer of their previous band, The Primitives, left to attend college. The trio recorded three albums for Rockville Records, before signing with Sire Records and expanding to a five-piece. Shortly after the release of the band's major label debut album Anodyne, Farrar announced his decision to leave the band due to a soured relationship with his co-songwriter Tweedy. Uncle Tupelo split on May 1, 1994, after completing a farewell tour. Following the breakup, Farrar formed Son Volt with Heidorn, while the remaining members continued as Wilco.
Although Uncle Tupelo broke up before it achieved commercial success, the band is renowned for its impact on the alternative country music scene. The group's first album, No Depression, became a byword for the genre and was widely influential. Uncle Tupelo's sound was unlike popular country music of the time, drawing inspiration from styles as diverse as the hardcore punk of The Minutemen and the country instrumentation and harmony of the Carter Family and Hank Williams. Farrar and Tweedy lyrics frequently referenced Middle America and the working class of Belleville.
Anodyne is the fourth and final studio album by alternative country band Uncle Tupelo, released on October 5, 1993. The recording of the album was preceded by the departure of the original drummer Mike Heidorn and the addition of three new band members: bassist John Stirratt, drummer Ken Coomer, and multi-instrumentalist Max Johnston. The band signed with Sire Records shortly before recording the album; Anodyne was Uncle Tupelo's only major label release until 89/93: An Anthology in 2002.
Recorded in Austin, Texas, Anodyne featured a split in songwriting credits between singers Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy, plus a cover version of the Doug Sahm song "Give Back the Key to My Heart", with Sahm on vocals. The lyrical themes were influenced by country music and—more than their preceding releases—touched on interpersonal relationships. After two promotional tours for the album, tensions between Farrar and Tweedy culminated in the breakup of Uncle Tupelo. Well-received upon its initial release, Anodyne was re-mastered and re-released in 2003 by Rhino Entertainment including five bonus tracks.