“Theologians” is one of the finest songs on one of Wilco’s finest albums, 2004’s mindfucked, somberly rambunctious A Ghost Is Born. The original song is an easy-riding choogle steeped in quotations from Jesus Christ’s Farewell Discourse and visions of cherry ghosts, built around the phrase “Theologians, they don’t know nothin’ about my soul.”

At Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky festival at Mexico’s Riviera Maya back in January, the band performed a new version of “Theologians” with Chicago singer-songwriter Neal Francis on lead vocals. For today only, on Bandcamp Friday, they’re selling a recording of that performance for charity. At Bandcamp, you can pay what you want for the song. Proceeds will be split between Chicago-based My Block My Hood My City and Ukraine relief efforts through International Rescue Committee.

“Our good friend Neal Francis said let’s play this song together,” Jeff Tweedy says at the outset of the recording. “He came to practice it with us, and he sang the shit out of it, so he’s gonna sing it.” In a press release, Francis added this statement:

As a Chicagoan, I’ve spent most of my life looking up to Wilco, so naturally I was thrilled
when they asked me to sit in at Sky Blue Sky. The band was gracious enough to allow me to pick the tune I would play with them, which presented its own challenge because they have so many songs I love. My girlfriend suggested “Theologians” as it’s one of her favorites. I liked that choice because it has a great piano part, and the lyrics really resonate with me as someone who continues to contemplate spirituality. Most importantly it’s an honor to be contributing to My Block My Hood My City, whose work focuses on support at the neighborhood level for areas of Chicago that continue to be denied resources. In light of the heart wrenching violence in Ukraine, and the great needs of the people there, we have also decided to direct the proceeds of our release to the International Rescue Committee which supports Ukrainian children and families in harm’s way.

Hear the live “Theologians” below, and buy it at Bandcamp before time runs out.