When: Sun., Sept. 22 2013
SON VOLT As a fan of Uncle Tupelo’s unique blend of Acuff-Rose and SST, I most admired Jay Farrar, the band’s undisputed creative leader. Unlike bandmate Jeff Tweedy, who was a work in progress until he formed Wilco, Farrar sounded fully formed from the moment Uncle Tupelo dropped their seminal 1990 release, No Depression. Maybe it had something to do with his wandering spirit father (a merchant marine), but Farrar already wrote and sang like an old soul by age 20. Even in Farrar’s next band, the first incarnation of Son Volt, his best tracks had a timeless quality, and in-concert covers of country fare like “Apartment No. 9” and “She’s More to Be Pitied” heightened the more-country/less-rock conviction some of us felt. Yet somewhere between the Mach I and II versions of Son Volt, Farrar’s songs bloated lyrically, the words and ideas turning topical, more like the CNN ticker than simple, universally themed songs. So the notion of Farrar doing an LP of trad Honky Tonk (and calling it that) intrigued, and the results should appeal to fans of Farrar’s country leanings. Given the pop dreck coming out of Nashville and calling itself country, this stuff is practically Bob Wills- and Merle Haggard-like.