Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, is “Roll On” by Son Volt from the band’s 2009 album, American Central Dust, on Rounder.
The question of whether Jay Farrar exists under the shadow of former friend and bandmaster Jeff Tweedy contains a different answer depending on who you ask. Unlike so-called rock and roll rivalries, however, Farrar and Tweedy have competed for nothing but fans’ ears and both have succeeded in their own way. While many dream of a reunited Uncle Tupelo, if only for a moment, it will never be nor should it as both have grown, moved on, and found their own identity in song.
Although the modern form of Farrar’s outlet, Son Volt, greatly differs from the band’s first incarnation that brought us three fantastic, if unheralded, albums (Trace, Straightaways, and Wide Swing Tremolo) during the middle and end of the 1990s. Farrar’s talent, obviously, hasn’t diminished during this second run with the name Son Volt, as evident with “Roll On.” The trademark twang that rang loud and proud through the first trio of Son Volt LPs returns, albeit in a bit of a subdued roll. It’s familiar and that’s all that matters in the end — a chance to reacquaint yourself with one of the last true alt-country acts still dabbling in the genre without pretense or guile. America Central Dust looks to return to the truer sound Farrar sang about so long ago on “Windfall.” We couldn’t be happier.
Son Volt has aims to hit the road fast and hard this summer according to the band’s MySpace page, which includes a sold out July 22nd show in Seattle at the Woodland Park Zoo. If you’ve got your ticket, flaunt it in front of those of us too slow to act. If you’ve found yourself ticketless and a little down, perhaps this live cut of “Dust of Daylight” will keep your appetite whet for the new album.