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Son Volt

After touring in support of their 1993 masterpiece, Anodyne, the seminal alternative country band Uncle Tupelo split up over long-simmering creative differences between co-leaders Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy. Tweedy recruited much of the band to form Wilco, while Farrar teamed up with original Tupelo drummer Mike Heidorn to form Son Volt, the more tradition-minded of the two Tupelo offshoots. Joined by brothers Jim (bass) and Dave Boquist (guitar, fiddle, banjo, fiddle, steel guitar), the band signed to Warner Bros. and released its debut album, Trace, in 1995. It was greeted with excellent reviews from most critics, offering a set of stark, subtle, mostly downbeat songs that drew from traditional country, folk, and roots rock. The single "Drown" was successful on both college and rock radio, and the band subsequently added unofficial fifth member Eric Heywood on mandolin and pedal steel for its second album, 1997's Straightaways.

While Straightaways mined territory similar to Trace and again received positive reviews, some found Farrar's lack of creative progression troubling, and although 1998's Wide Swing Tremolo was a somewhat harder-rocking affair, the erosion of critical support for the group continued. They ended up on an unofficial hiatus (rumors of their breakup were denied), and Farrar debuted as a solo artist with 2001's Sebastopol, putting the future of Son Volt in further doubt. He continued with his solo career throughout 2002 and 2003, and in 2005, Rhino issued Retrospective: 1995-2000. But Son Volt weren't over. Farrar revived the nameplate in July 2005 with the issue of Okemah and the Melody of Riot (Legacy). For the album, recorded in St. Louis, Farrar was joined by drummer Dave Bryson, bassist Andrew DuPlantis, and ex-Backsliders guitarist Brad Rice. Search arrived in early 2007, followed by American Central Dust in 2009. Honky Tonk, full of pedal steel guitars and twin fiddles, and a sort of homage to the Bakersfield country sound, arrived early in 2013. In 2015, Rhino Records marked the 20th Anniversary of the release of Trace with an expanded and remastered edition of the album, including Farrar's original songwriting demos for the album and tracks from a Son Volt concert recorded in New York City in February 1996. Farrar supported the re-release with a solo tour in which he performed the album's songs in full. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Honky Tonk

1. Hearts And Minds

2. Brick Walls

3. Wild Side

4. Down The Highway

5. Bakersfield

6. Livin On

7. Tears Of Change

8. Angel Of The Blues

9. Seawall

10. Barricades

11. Shine On

x

Track List: American Central Dust

1. Dynamite

2. Down To The Wire

3. Roll On

4. Cocaine And Ashes

5. Dust Of Daylight

6. When The Wheels Don't Move

7. No Turning Back

8. Pushed Too Far

9. Exiles

10. Sultana

11. Strength And Doubt

12. Jukebox Of Steel

x

Track List: The Search

1. Slow Hearse

2. The Picture

3. Action

4. Undergroud Dream

5. Circadian Rhythm

6. Beacon Soul

7. The Search

8. Adrenaline And Heresy

9. Satellite

10. Automatic Society

11. Methamphetamine

12. L Train

13. Highways And Cigarettes

14. Phosphate Skin

x

Track List: Son Volt - A Retrospective: 1995-2000

1. Drown

2. Windfall

3. Route

4. Rex's Blues

5. Looking At The World Through A Windshield

6. Too Early

7. Back Into Your World

8. Picking Up The Signal

9. I've Got To Know

10. Creosote

11. Straightface

12. Tulsa County

13. Driving The View

15. Flow

16. Holocaust

20. Open All Night

x

Track List: Caryatid Easy (Radio Single)

1. Caryatid Easy

x

Track List: Hearts And Minds (Single)

1. Hearts And Minds

x

Track List: Trace

1. Windfall

3. Tear Stained Eye

4. Route

6. Drown

7. Loose String

10. Too Early

x

Track List: Trace (Expanded)

1. Windfall

3. Tear Stained Eye

4. Route

6. Drown

7. Loose String

10. Too Early

12. Route (Acoustic Demo)

13. Drown (Demo)

14. Out Of The Picture (Demo)

15. Loose String (Demo)

16. Live Free (Demo)

17. Too Early (Demo)

18. Catching On (Demo)

19. Windfall (Demo)

20. Route (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

21. Loose String (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

22. Catching On (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

23. Live Free (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

24. Anodyne (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

25. Windfall (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

26. Slate (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

27. Out Of The Picture (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

28. Tear Stained Eye (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

29. True To Life (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

30. Cemetery Savior (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

31. Ten Second News (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

32. Fifteen Keys (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

33. Drown (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

34. Looking For A Way Out (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

35. Chickamauga (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

36. Too Early (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

37. Looking At The World Through A Windshield (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96)

x

Track List: Wide Swing Tremolo

1. Straightface

2. Driving The View

3. Jodel

4. Medicine Hat

5. Strands

6. Flow

7. Dead Man's Clothes

8. Right On Through

9. Chanty

10. Carry You Down

11. Question

12. Streets That Time Walks

13. Hanging Blue Side

14. Blind Hope

Comments

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This is one my all time favorite tracks by S. V., It stands the test of time.
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I agree with mark.heiser- - Wilco, for the most part, has a very run-of-the-m i l l , uninterestin g , pop sound. It's obvious why Farrar and Tweedy couldn't agree artistically . So why does Pandora think Wilco and Son Volt are similar, when they aren't even in the same genre? Just because they once were part of the same band? Makes me wonder...
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danzigirwin
Okemah ...... was a great transition album for Jay Farrar and his band. Made all the better by the GREAT playing of one of my favorite, yet unheralded, players Brad Rice. Check out Brad with The Backsliders. IF, (and that's a BIG IF), you can find their CD's they are well worth it. Especially Live from Raleigh, NC . Or check out his work with Tift Merrit. It's also worth the hunt.
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Great
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mark.heiser
Son Volt = Music for music fans.
Wilco - Music for teenyboppers and e-fanboys. (at least the newer stuff)
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Exiles = Goodnight Elizabeth by counting crows.. dead ringer.
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First time I heard of Son Volt. Windfall awesome haunting song!
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rustytweed8
Phila Fulla doo doo
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Brings back foggy memories of Columbia mo and St. Louis.
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My good buddy bill Roberts turned me on to this outstanding band and I am forever grateful.
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yabadabadoo . . . dodo . . .
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rustytweed8
Band sounds good he just can't sing. Rarely a melody in his stuff.
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Waxed a taint??? Awesome!
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Son Volt is my favorite all time band and Trace is my favorite album. I do miss the Boquist brothers in the new lineup. Jay Farrar is a very talented man.
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saw him in lawrence, ks at the Bottleneck! great college town
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great band god to dance to wife loves them to
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ritchiec53
That's good country.
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Steve Huey's band bio above is pretty poor. He doesn't seem to recognize the depth of Jay Farrar's genius, or the evolution of Son Volt.
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.
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Oh man, SO great in concert. 19 years old, broke University student, chilling on a couch (that should have been condemned), drinking cheap beer, with my BF,and Son Volt playing… great memory just re-lived by hearing this song, CHECK. Thanks Son Volt!!
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Truly epic!
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danzigirwin
Both the Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy realizations of what Uncle Tupelo SHOULD have been, have yielded mostly great results. The little that isn't is merely better than most. I waver between Jay And Jeff depending on my mood. And Nels Cline is a perfect edition to a band that's seen some transitions.
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Good taint maintenance music
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Love these guys...what a great sound ...it reminds me of the 1st time I waxed a taint
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just saw them again in Seattle, one of the most hypnotic voices ever
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acsrandy67
Music is subjective it either moves you or it doesn't. No need to bash any artist they are all building block of the of groups that we become to love.

Jay and tweedy would be what they are with out each other. Thank you both
Report as inappropriate
I see what you did there jessica
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Current Son Volt also features the impeccable talents of Mark Spenser in a variety of roles
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What about the exqusite sad beauty of Son Volt ?
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Well kick up some dust, and blow me away. Or is that roll me away, I can't remember.
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Love Medicine Hat...
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Very much a big fan of Son Volt---I more preferred the stuff done by Jar Farrar back in the Uncle Tupelo days and prefer Son Volt over Wilco for some reason--I like the way that Jay Farrar often uses his voice as if it were another instrument.
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Townes Van Zandt song.
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What do I love about Jay Farrar & Son Volt & Uncle Tup. Some thing for sure , 's meloncoly , rememerings . Something special though
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Jay Farrar's lack of creative progression?
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long time fan of Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, and Wilco. Reminds me when we used to watch all of them in college every month or so at the Blue Note and then hang out at Denny's where they used to go after their show. Strange that Uncle Tupelo would incite mosh pits but fun nontheless. Love em or hate em, Uncle Tupelo is one of the founding bands of the alt.country genre. (AKA No Depression named after their album.)
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guys, guys, why do we have to compare bands...just enjoy the music. "he's better, no he's better, he's an a-hole, (im sure you would know)." come on now.
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kdf999
I love it! This is the first time I've heard Son Volt. (I've heard Wilco & didn't like them.) Pandora gave it to me because I'm listening to the Band.
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Ahem... Uncle Tupelo were just not all that good. I've seen 'em, I've heard 'em.. Their songs are -- on average -- not that good. Not nearly as good as this album, Trace.
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Love & respect to Jay and Son Volt!!!
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jdo4917
Trace is one of the Best Albums of All Time !
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i like this groove quite a bit would love to see them at the wellmont montclair nj
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Great band.Trace was great OAMOR and ACD are also fine collections.
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stopdavestop
Trace is one of the best records of the nineties.
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raphaellorr
was diappointed that slide guitar was a synth instrument, other than that good show
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marc_schmitz 7
Really looking forward to seeing Farrar at the end of Jan. with Ben Gibbard for the "One Fast Move..." show at Turner Hall. Great Record.
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marc_schmitz 7
Fall and winter scream Son Volt and Farrar. Love putting Straightaway s and Trace on for a fall drive around the crisp Wisconsin countryside. Trace is a masterpiece. . . s t a r t to finish a perfect record. Saw them at the Pabst in Sept. and it was the best I've seen in any incarnation since 1996. Would love to hear Jay make James Walbourne a permanent member. Seems to bring a smile to Jays face during those scorching solos!
Report as inappropriate
casutphin6
when in doubt
move on
no need to sort it out
Report as inappropriate
I don't know why you thank Tom, why unquestionab l y follow a suggestive player( pubbie), it never left visibility or audible recognition. Where did you go? Get with the people. We are all around you.
Report as inappropriate
Thank you Tom Smith. I am not familiar with this man, but I sure plan on it. Love his voice and music. I don't know where music like this went, but I hope it comes back.

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