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Son Volt

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  • Electro Melodier (Transmit Sound/Thirty Tigers, 2021)

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Jay Farrar has traveled a winding path since reassembling the scatterlings of Son Volt five years ago. Although Farrar had been in solo acoustic mode for nearly five years, he got the original Son Volt line-up back to the studio in 2004 to record a version of Alejandro Escovedo's Sometimes for "Por Vida," the tribute/benefit album for the hepatitis-stricken singer/songwriter. Sensing a renewed vigor, Farrar proposed putting the band back together to record a new album, a plan that fell through at the 11th hour.   ...
The recent cold snap in hell is nothing like the full freeze that took place there when The Eagles decided to bury the hatchet and regrouped to play together again. And yet it still seemed like an unseasonably cool forecast for the underworld when it was announced that Jay Farrar would be reuniting with his band mates in Son Volt, the much revered Americana/roots band he had dismantled for a solo career seven years ago. To be fair, the initial word of Son Volt's return might not have set off hell's Doppler because it didn't seem to qualify as a full scale reunion.  ...
Son Volt was never a band that cared much for the star-making machinery and all its trappings. The midwestern alt.-country-roots-rock band simply likes to plug in and play. And like some of the old-school bands of the '60's and '70's (Crazy Horse, The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers), they harken back to, the band is prolific with three strong studio albums released in less than four years. Son Volt's newest, Wide Swing Tremolo, continues where their last one, "Straightaways," left off.  ...
Lots of magazines these days are wondering where to draw the line between country and rock. It's mostly the mainstream country magazines worried that too much of this "Hot New Country" stuff isn't really country at all. But there's another side to the same question. There are currently a bunch of bands - such as The Bottle Rockets, Wilco, and Son Volt who are getting a lot of play on rock radio with music that is often at least as country as what's on country radio. Some might even argue that it's more country.  ...
Very few people who write and perform popular music for a living can claim the sort of consistent quality for their work that Son Volt's Jay Farrar can. Having begun his professional musical career in the St. Louis area (by way of nearby Belleville, Ill., where he and Son Volt drummer Mike Heidorn both grew up) at the beginning of the decade with the trio Uncle Tupelo (which originally included Heidorn and bassist Jeff Tweedy), Farrar set out to meld the folk and country music played in his parents' home with the dynamics of punk rock.  ...

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