Son Volt makes socially-conscious, bittersweet folk-rock tunes steeped in Americana and lyrical poetry. The bands music draws heavily on the spirit of artists like Woody Guthrie and Gram Parsons, with an easy blend of unadorned, traditional country and rock, though Son Volts music is decidedly more glum and brooding.
The band brought a mix of new songs and old favorites to Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club for a marathon, two-hour concert Oct. 21, 2005. The full performance was originally webcast live on NPR.org as part of NPR Music's ongoing concert series from All Songs Considered.
Son Volt formed in 1993 from the ashes of seminal alternative-country band Uncle Tupelo. When Uncle Tupelo broke up, singer-songwriter Jay Farrar formed Son Volt while fellow bandmate Jeff Tweedy formed Wilco. Son Volts 1995 debut CD, Trace is still considered one of the most indispensable folk-rock albums. Son Volts two subsequent CDs, Straightaways in 1997 and Wide Swing Tremelo in 1998, werent received as well. The band went on an unofficial hiatus but returned earlier this year with Okemah and the Melody of Riot, their first new work in seven years. Critics are calling the new album Son Volts best CD since their debut ten years ago.
Okemah and the Melody of Riot is louder and more political than Son Volts earlier albums, with plenty of pedal steel, electric guitar, organ and dulcimer. The CD title is taken from Okemah, Okla., Woodie Guthries birthplace.