Son Volt goes honky tonk
Thursday, January 31, 2013
– Son Volt will release "Honky Tonk," the follow-up to 2009's "American Central Dust" on March 5 on Rounder.
The album features 11 new Son Volt songs that are inspired by the classic honky tonk sound of Bakersfield. Bandleader Jay Farrar said, "Honky tonk music is about heartache, heartbreak, the road."
"I wanted these songs to sound more contemporary and modern. There was no strict adherence to methodology of the past. You never want to be a nostalgia act," Farrar said.
On the new disc, Son Volt adopts a more acoustic-based sound. Many of its compositions mine a thematic lyrical vein inspired by a traditional country music aesthetic, which Farrar first explored on "American Central Dust."
"I was always averse to using certain words in songs, including 'love' and 'heart,'" he said. "But I started using them on 'American Central Dust,' and now I guess the floodgates have opened."
Farrar said his decision to learn a new instrument inspired an intense exploration of honky tonk music: "In the time between Son Volt records, I started learning pedal steel guitar. I play with a local band in St. Louis now and then called Colonel Ford. So I was immersed in honky tonk music, the Bakersfield sound, in particular. And it was almost second nature when I started writing the songs for this record."
Songs on the CD are:
1. Hearts and Minds
2. Brick Walls
3. Wild Side
4. Down the Highway
6. Livin' On
7. Tears of Change
8. Angel of the Blues
11. Shine On
Tour dates are:
April 10 - Mercy Lounge - Nashville, TN
April 11 - The Orange Peel - Asheville, NC
April 12 - Terminal West - Atlanta, GA
April 13 - Cat's Cradle - Carrboro, NC
April 14 - Bijou Theatre - Knoxville, TN
April 16 - WorkPlay Theatre - Birmingham, AL
April 17 - The Parish - New Orleans, LA
April 18 - Continental Club - Houston, TX
April 19 - Old Settler's Music Festival - Austin, TX
April 20 - Sons of Herman Hall - Dallas, TX
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CD reviews for Son Volt
Notes of Blue
Son Volt's "Notes of Blue" is said to be influenced by the blues (among other musical styles), and the blues is most at the fore during "Cherokee St.," a stomping, electric guitar-driven blues rocker. The song has the stripped-down sound of a Blind Willie Johnson sermon, although lead vocalist Jay Farrar is by no means the gravelly singer Johnson was. Still, it has that vibe. Farrar and band mates are just as effective with "The Storm," a more acoustic approach to the blues. »»»
Trace (Remastered and Expanded)
Son Volt was one of the two bands that rose from the considerable ashes of the May 1994 Uncle Tupelo breakup. While Jeff Tweedy and the current Uncle Tupelo lineup formed Wilco, his former partner, singer/songwriter/instrumentalist Jay Farrar, teamed with Uncle Tupelo founding drummer Mike Heidorn to create Son Volt. Fans knew what to expect from the formidable but volatile Tweedy/Farrar partnership, but what would come from these new efforts? Any lingering questions or doubts were answered when »»»
Jay Farrar and his band Son Volt likely never set out to reinvent country music, but after rising from the ashes of the renegade roots outfit Uncle Tupelo, it was inevitable that they'd put a modern spin on the traditional sounds they were attempting to emulate. Yet, while former band mate Jeff Tweedy took his spin-off, Wilco, into wholly unlikely and strangely twisted directions, Farrar and company more or less kept their eye on the heartland and crafted songs more becoming of their Americana origins. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk
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