ARTIST: Son Volt
YEAR RELEASED: 1995
CHART ACTION: #166
SINGLES: Drown (#10 Mainstream, #25 Alternative)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Windfall, Live Free
LINEUP: Jay Farrar, Dave Boquist, Jim Boquist, Mike Heidorn. Eric Heywood added pedal steel.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After the acrimonious breakup of Uncle Tupelo, Jay Farrar forms his own band (like Jeff Tweedy) and releases probably the best record of his career.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Uncle Tupelo legacy battle was originally won by Jay Farrar, forming Son Volt with Uncle Tupelo founding drummer Mike Heidorn and the Boquist brothers. This first album is packed with tracks that may not have been out of place on any Uncle Tupelo record, except for the upgrade in the recording budget.
Farrar’s voice is weary and melancholy, which fits all of this material perfectly. The opener, “Windfall”, may be the best example of Alt-Country going, and as the album goes on, from ballad to rocker, Farrar and the band play with purpose and feeling.
As a document of where Alt Country was in 1995, this is it. It perfectly encapsulates the genre and why it was so important for the music scene.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Uncle Tupelo split in 1994 with Wilco and Son Volt forming soon after. Wilco got the Sire contract left over from Uncle Tupelo, while Son Volt signed with Warner Brothers
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: A+: I wore this thing out in 1995, which is hard to do with a CD.