When Jay Farrar sings, “May the wind blow your troubles away,” on ‘Windfall’, about a long-distance drive to escape one’s problems and the opening track of Son Volt’s 1995 debut album, ‘Trace’, it came across like a hopeful sentiment of looking forward for the talented songwriter following the tragic implosion of Uncle Tupelo, his first band with Jeff Tweedy. The album was Farrar’s first since the ugly dissolution of Uncle Tupelo the prior year. In addition to the ugly, personal drama, and turmoil that led to the end of the seminal-band, the release of ‘Trace’ carried with it an unmatched burden of expectations. Those expectations weighed not only on Farrar, but also on former bandmate Tweedy. Every move they made in the months following the end of Uncle Tupelo was preceded by the question, “What does the after-life following the breakup look like for both Farrar and Tweedy and how do you follow up the genius that was Uncle Tupelo?” Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Son Volt “Trace” (Warner Bros, 1995)”
As AUK’s resident miserabilist (self-appointed, though there is clearly plenty of competition) I feel it is incumbent on me to offer some kind of alternative background music for the approaching doomsday scenario. Now I’m not saying that we are heading for the end of days, just that sometimes when you wake up and your day slowly blurs into focus, as you re-calibrate your circumstances it can certainly feel like it. Continue reading “Songs for the Rehearsal”
When americana pioneers Uncle Tupelo split in 1994, it was like cutting a worm in half. They both grew new heads. Or tails. Whatever allegedly happens when you cut a worm in half. One of those heads was of course Jay Farrar who went on to found Son Volt, and though their debut ‘Trace’ was always heralded as the classic, 1997’s ‘Straightaways’ has always held a more special place for me in their canon. Apart from anything else it contains the track ‘Creosote’, my favourite song by Son Volt and one of the most perfectly rounded americana songs ever (just listen to those lyrics), at the dawning of the UK bringing the genre to its bosom. Blair should have invited Farrar to Downing St instead of Noel Gallagher. Then again that would have involved good judgement.
While Jay Farrar might be considered as being pretty grounded when it comes to singing about familiar folk themes he’s never been a political writer. On ‘Union’ that changes as he here turns to topical concerns, setting out what is essentially his state of the union address. ‘Union’ is not a protest album, there are no street fighting anthems here and the names of the guilty are not mentioned, but when he sings, “Proud to serve but not this president,” on ‘Reality Winner’, it’s not hard to guess his inner thoughts even though the song is ostensibly about a whistleblower jailed for leaking classified documents. Continue reading “Son Volt “Union” (Transmit Sound, 2019)”
Son Volt’s new album is on the way next month and our over-excitement isn’t being helped by the drip drip of material from the record, including now a new video which focuses on the daily grind of being working musicians in their new video for the track ‘Devil May Care’, which premiered yesterday on Rolling Stone Country. RS describes the track as “Cruising along with breezy acoustic strumming, the carefree Americana tune soundtracks a montage of road scenes, featuring frontman Jay Farrar and his longstanding alt-country crew moving from gig to gig. The vintage-hued footage unfolds like a scrapbook of tour memories with shots of highway signs, stage time and laughs over backstage beers. Continue reading “Son Volt release video for new track “Devil May Care””
Rolling Stone are today carrying a new song from Son Volt taken from their upcoming album ‘Union’ which will be released on March 29th, and it sees them going all political which here at AUK Towers we heartily approve of. ‘The 99’ begins with the line “Journalists in jail covering the scenes; The profit columns rise for the corporate machines” and goes on from there to tackle trickle down economics and the criminal justice system. Continue reading “Son Volt release first track “The 99” from new album – Listen”
Good interview here which muses what Woody Guthrie would think about world events unfurling today. Rolling Stone Country reports: “”The title is obviously a nod to the blues, which ended up becoming the framework of this entire record,” states singer-guitarist Jay Farrar about Son Volt’s adventurous new album Notes of Blue. “Over the years I’ve done a couple blues-oriented songs here and there, but this time around there was an opportunity to focus a bit more on it all the way through.” Finding its aesthetic anchor in the storied blues tradition, Notes of Blue is the eighth studio album from Farrar’s Son Volt, a band who often works to widen the fence posts of the alt-country genre it is often credited with helping establish. Continue reading “Rolling Stone interviews Jay Farrar on new Son Volt record”