After receiving a call from Jeff Tweedy
to support him at a solo performance in Chicago, Egan became the pedal steel guitarist for Wilco
. In 1996, the group released Being There and toured for two years. Egan saw that the band was moving from a pedal steel direction into a more keyboard-oriented style, and parted with the group in 1998. In 1998, he also began recording material for his debut album. But the exercise left Egan financially drained. A call from Oh Susanna
enabled him to perform on her album in exchange for 1,000 compact discs of his album to be manufactured. In 1999, he produced some alternative country bands in Norway, including Madrugaga. But again, he seemed to be fighting an uphill battle commercially and artistically.