Fans of the Uncle Tupelo-Jayhawks-Wilco alt-country triumvirate won't want to miss this Sunday's concert by Jay Farrar's Son Vol
t at Hartwood Acres
After helping to usher in the alt-country movement in the late 1980s with his band Uncle Tupelo, Jay Farrar has continued to explore his Americana-tinged songwriting aesthetic with Son Volt. The group released three landmark albums during the 1990s before Farrar famously put Son Volt on extended hiatus and made three solo records. Long considered a staple of the alternative country movement in the U.S., the Son Volt sound reflects Farrar's respect for John Wesley Harding-era Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, the Flying Burrito Brothers and R.E.M.
Son Volt has returned once again to the alt-country spotlight with the July 7 release of its latest 12-song album, American Central Dust. After years on and off various record labels and forming and reforming with various band members, Farrar has set his stride with the new record and a sweet new deal with legendary Massachusetts-based label, Rounder Records.
Augmenting front man Farrar's stream of consciousness imagery and the band's Americana inspired rock are touches of fiddle, piano, viola, and even an eight-string Fender pedal steel guitar. The 12-song album opens with the catchy shuffle of "Dynamite," with its gritty electric piano riffs, driving drum beats and Farrar's signature introspective lyrics that chronicle his poetic take on the world around him. With Farrar tackling guitar, harmonica, and vocal duties, American Central Dust also features Dave Bryson on drums, Andrew Duplantis on bass and backing vocals, Chris Masterson on lead guitar, and Mark Spencer on keyboards and steel guitar.
Of the album's topical nature, Farrar writes, "I have a daily habit of paying close attention to the news, and some of that does lead its way into the writing." Dubbed "psychological travelogues," song standouts include "Sultana," a heart wrenching tale of an 1865 Mississippi River maritime disaster, and "Pushed Too Far," Farrar's personal tale of two cities—New Orleans, where he lived in the '90s, and his hometown of St. Louis.
Earlier this month, Son Volt embarked on a national tour co-headlining along with The Cowboy Junkies.
August 9, 7:30 p.m.
Hartwood Amphitheatre, Hartwood Acres
200 Hartwood Acres, Hampton and Indiana Townships
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