"Highways & Cigarettes"
"Bandages & Scars"
Blending the sounds of classic Americana — country, folk and roots-rock — into a whole that feels both familiar and original, Son Volt and bandleader Jay Farrar compose elegant, melodic songs that radiate intelligence and melancholy. Son Volt performed a concert from WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on Feb. 23.
After the demise of the pioneering alt-country band Uncle Tupelo in 1994, leaders Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy went their separate ways, with Tweedy recruiting most of the remaining members of Uncle Tupelo to form Wilco and Farrar forming Son Volt. The latter's first record, 1995's Trace, was widely hailed for its emotional depth. While not a huge commercial success, the album found its way onto many 1995 best-of lists. Subsequent albums kept Son Volt's fan base active, but never quite won Farrar the cachet of his peers in Wilco. Son Volt returned from a lengthy hiatus in 2005, when Okemah and the Melody of Riot recaptured much of the group's early momentum.
For The Search, due in March, Son Volt has crafted what looks to be the most musically diverse songs of its career. Featuring a variety of unconventional instruments — including guitar loops, various keyboards and horns — The Search sounds like an engaging and worthy addition to the Son Volt catalog.