Mar 4, 2019
Led by the songwriting and vocals of Jay Farrar, Son Volt was one of the most instrumental and influential bands in launching the alt.country movement, precursor to what is now widely referred to as Americana. Farrar possesses one of the most distinctive voices in roots, rock, country or any genre. He exudes a soulful longing combined with a wise-beyond-his-years command that is as arresting and compelling as ever. As a songwriter, Farrar's depth and poetic penchant has been the foundation of a thoughtful, deep and intelligent body of work.
Son Volt's most recent album release was Notes Of Blue (Thirty Tigers). The 10 songs on Notes Of Blue are inspired by the spirit of the blues, but not the standard blues as most know it. The unique and haunting tunings of Mississippi Fred McDowell, Skip James and Nick Drake were all points of exploration for Farrar for the new collection.
The album opens with the country soul of "Promise The World", followed by "Back Against The Wall", a song that could stand alongside the great Son Volt songs of their early albums. However, Notes Of Blue reflects the blues as it resides in the folk tradition, but heavily amplified. The primal stomp of "Cherokee Girl", the frenetic guitar on "Static" and the raw slide in "Sinking Down" exude grit and attitude. Conversely, tracks such as "The Storm" and "Cairo and Southern" seamlessly meld blues with hypnotic melodies that add a unique balance to Notes Of Blue.
Whether you call it alt.country, Americana, roots rock, insurgent country or just good ol' rock ‘n' roll, musical trends appear and disappear on regular basis. Notes of Blue is a testament to the legacy of inspiration and creative spirit that Jay Farrar and Son Volt continue to uphold.
This episode also features songs from The Slamming Doors. This Iron Range group brings a lot more to the table than just being a run of the mill country band. The country edge is just a fraction of what is happening with this music. These are sounds and traditions many musicians assume are too mapped out, too well traveled for anyone to successfully create something fresh and new. And in the hands of most bands attempting to operate there, these sounds and traditions often do feel worn out. With The Slamming Doors the memorized map hasn't vanished, or been rejected, it has become Origami.
Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.
Perry's bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom, and his latest, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy. His first book for young readers, The Scavengers, was published in 2014 and first novel for adult readers, The Jesus Cow, was published in May of 2015.
Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wandered into writing. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an intermittent pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated "Tent Show Radio," performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums including Never Stand Behind A Sneezing Cow and The Clodhopper Monologues.
Learn more about Michael and where to get his publications at www.sneezingcow.com.
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