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SON VOLT DELIVERS HONKY TONK
 
ORDER:
CD | VINYL | DIGITAL


STREAM THE ENTIRE 'HONKY TONK' ALBUM AT AMERICAN SONGWRITER.COM

VISIT SPINNER.COM TO HEAR "BAKERSFIELD" FROM 'HONKY TONK'

Honky Tonk is out now on Rounder Records!  The album features eleven new Son Volt songs that are inspired by the classic honky tonk sound of Bakersfield. Bandleader Jay Farrar observes, “Honky tonk music is about heartache, heartbreak, the road.” Honky Tonk stays true to what’s so appealing about honky tonk music, while stretching out its familiar contours into new shapes and spaces.

Farrar sees Honky Tonk as a record moving forward on the path toward a more acoustic-based music that Son Volt took on its last record, 2009’s American Central Dust (also on Rounder). “The record is a continuation of what was happening with American Central Dust,” observes Farrar. “Once again, I didn’t play much if any electric guitar.”

Like American Central Dust, Son Volt recorded Honky Tonk in Farrar’s studio in St. Louis, with Mark Spencer (who also plays bass guitar, pedal steel and keyboards) at the recording helm. Dave Bryson provided drums and other percussion. Most of the songs on Honky Tonk were written in a two-week burst, and many of its compositions mine a more thematic lyrical vein inspired by a traditional country music aesthetic, which Farrar first explored on the band’s previous record.

“I was always averse to using certain words in songs,” recalls Farrar, “including ‘love’ and ‘heart.’ But I started using them on [American Central Dust] and now I guess the floodgates have opened.”

 

EXCLUSIVE TOUR CDs IN THE STORE

Now available in Jay's Store and at shows are 4 new Cds. Dogtown Sessions, Artifacts, 1999, and Live In St. Louis. All of these titles are exclusively available here and at shows!
 
 

SON VOLT ON TOUR

New tour dates have been announced.  Please visit the tour page to see the latest information.  
 
 

JAY FARRAR'S, FALLING CARS AND JUNKYARD DOGS, OUT IN MARCH

Jay has written a book called Falling Cars and Junkyard Dogs.  It will be released in March via Counterpoint Press.  We will have more info to come.

PURCHASE BOOK

 

 
 

GUTHRIE PROJECT, NEW MULTITUDES


LISTEN TO "OLD LA"
from New Multitudes

Like a cadre of musical brothers finally coalescing after years on the road apart, Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Gob Iron, Uncle Tupelo), Will Johnson (Centro-matic, South San Gabriel), Anders Parker (Varnaline, Gob Iron) and Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket, Monsters of Folk) gratefully deliver New Multitudes, an intimate interpretation of American icon and musical legend Woody Guthrie’s previously unrecorded lyrics.

Set to coincide with the centennial celebration of Woody Guthrie’s birth year, New Multitudes will be released on February 28, 2012 by Rounder Records as a 12 track release and a 24 track limited edition.  The limited edition features original Guthrie lyric sheets, the 12 track release, and 12 additional compositions recorded by Farrar and Parker.  The album will also be available on vinyl.


We have created a new Facebook page for the group – www.facebook.com/newmultitudes Right now, we are streaming “Old L.A.” from the album, featuring Anders Parker on lead vocal.  Please “like” this page so you can receive updates including interview footage, live performance video, etc.

Under the invitation of Nora Guthrie, Woody’s daughter, to tour the Guthrie archives, each of the four songwriters were offered the chance to plumb and mine the plethora of notebooks, scratch pads, napkins, etc. for anything that might inspire them to lend their voices and give the words new life. "These guys worked on an amazing group of lyrics”, says Nora. “Much of it culled from Woody’s times in LA. Lyric wise, it’s a part of the story that is still mostly unknown. From Woody’s experiences on LA’s skid row to his later years in Topanga Canyon, they are uniquely intimate, and relate two distinctly emotional periods in his life.”

The spirit of Guthrie may have been involved in more ways than one, as all four songwriters mentioned the immediate connection to the songs they chose, or as they would suggest, “chose them.” The writing came together quickly, as if the mischief muse who originally penned them latched himself to each writer's grey matter upon first contact.

M
usically, it is this sense of collaboration that makes New Multitudes not just another trite and traditional acoustic regurgitation of back porch blues. From the ragged jangle of its opening track, “Hoping Machine”, the loping lilt of “Fly High”, the floorboard stomp of “No Fear”, to the lush warmth and sudden sonic gut punch of “My Revolutionary Mind” the cohorts deliver a lesson in discovering a song’s sweet spot. It’s the function and preparedness of each artist’s dogged work ethic gleaned the old-fashion way; veracious songs, road weary odometers, and sweat stained live shows, all attributes of the man they are honoring.

 
 
NEW MULTITUDES AUDIO CLIPS

Check out these audio clips of the guys speaking about the project on the New Multitudes Facebook page.
NEW MULTITUDES VIDEO ABOUT HOW THE PROJECT TOOK ROOT
Please keep an eye on the New Multitudes Facebook page as new videos will be added around the album’s February 28 release date.  Please “like” the New Multitudes Facebook page so you can be kept up to date with news about this project.

Jay Farrar: What was the process behind matching each artist to the lyrics?
[ LISTEN ]
Jim James: How did the song for “Talking Empty Bed Blues” come about?
[ LISTEN ]
Anders Parker: Did you write the music to accompany the lyrics or to fit the lyrics?
[ LISTEN ]
Jay Farrar:
How did you first discover Woody Guthrie?

[ LISTEN ]
Anders Parker: How did you first discover Woody Guthrie?
[ LISTEN ]
Will Johnson: How did you first discover Woody Guthrie?
[ LISTEN ]
Jay Farrar: What was the inspiration behind this project?
[ LISTEN ]
Will Johnson: Where would you put Woody Guthrie on the list of artists who influenced you?
[ LISTEN ]

 
 

JIM JAMES PERFORMS "TALKING EMPTY BED BLUES"

Watch Jim perform "Talking Empty Bed Blues" from 'New Mulititudes' via NPR!

 
 

WATCH NEW MULTITUDES
VIDEO PREVIEW

WORLD CAFÉ PERFORMANCE

On Tuesday, March 13 from 2-3 pm, Jay, Will, Anders and Jim will perform a taped set before a live audience at WXPN’s World Café. This performance will air at a later date on over 230 NPR stations. If you are a WXPN member, try and get tickets to the performance!
 

TERROIR BLUES: THE DOGTOWN SESSIONS

The latest digital release Terroir Blues: The Dogtown Sessions is now available through Jay’s web store as well as iTunes and all other digital outlets.


This latest release features an 11-track sequence, including 5 alternate mixes from the Terroir Blues session (“Cahokian”,  “Fool King's  Crown”, “Dent County”, “Out on the Road” and “Walk You Down”) as well as 6 re-mastered tracks from the original 2003 Terroir Blues release.

Jay’s web store exclusively features the album art for this release.

 
 
 

NEW MERCHANDISE ADDED TO JAY FARRAR STORE

The limited edition letterpress poster from Jay's recent solo tour is now available here . The 'Roosters' poster is limited to 200 are are 18" X 24". Check it out here!

Kerouac tour t-shirts and posters in Jay's Store are now available!  These shirts feature the dates of the shows on the back.  The posters are a beautiful woodcut and feature the dates as well.

 
 
SON VOLT - 'AMERICAN CENTRAL DUST'

Son Volt’s new album,American Central Dust,’, was released on July 7th!  You can purchase the CD or vinyl through the Jay Farrar store!

Son Volt returns with American Central Dust,’ on Rounder Records, a plaintive 12-song collection that recalls the melodic succinctness of the band’s debut album ‘Trace.’  After the musical experimentation of 2007’s ‘The Search, ’ ‘American Central Dust,’ the band’s first album on Rounder, refines the band’s robust sound. Fiddle, pedal steel, lap steel and sparkling piano add an atmospheric nuance to Son Volt’s Americana inspired rock, surrounding band leader Jay Farrar’s stream of consciousness lyrical imagery.
 
Album highlights include; the rootsy shuffle of album opener “Dynamite,” on which Farrar declares “this love is like celebrating the 4th of July with dynamite,” the tremolo soaked rocker “Down To The Wire,’ the gorgeous, piano led “Cocaine And Ashes,” an empathetic tribute to Keith Richards, references a man who’s “the same as everyone, just kind of lucky,” and ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’-esque rocker “No Turning Back.”

When asked about signing to the new label, Farrar said "Rounder has shown a long term commitment to music forms, like folk and blues, that I have a lot of respect for.  Going with Rounder has been a kind of a full circle continuum -- the first Rounder person I met with was instrumental in booking Uncle Tupelo gigs years ago"
 
‘American Central Dust’ features Jay Farrar (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Dave Bryson (drums), Andrew Duplantis (bass guitar, backing vocals), Chris Masterson (lead guitar), Mark Spencer (keyboards, steel guitar).  Son Volt’s national tour begins in July.

‘AMERICAN CENTRAL DUST’ tracklist:
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

 
 
 
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ON THE ROAD

DATE VENUE
CITY, STATE
INFO
September 26, 2014

Roots n Blues n BBQ Festival
Columbia, MO

Jay Farrar
accompanied by Gary Hunt

BUY TICKETS
October 10, 2014

Hangar 9
Carbondale, IL

Jay Farrar
accompanied by Gary Hunt

BUY TICKETS
October 11, 2014

Harvest Hootenanny
Hannibal, MO

Jay Farrar
accompanied by Gary Hunt

BUY TICKETS
October 29, 2014

Continental Club
Houston, TX

Jay Farrar
accompanied by Gary Hunt

BUY TICKETS
October 30, 2014

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Jay Farrar
accompanied by Gary Hunt

BUY TICKETS
October 31, 2014

Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX

Jay Farrar
accompanied by Gary Hunt

BUY TICKETS
November 1, 2014

Festival at the Switchyard
Carrollton, TX

Jay Farrar
accompanied by Gary Hunt

BUY TICKETS
 

SON VOLT


Left to right: Gary Hunt, Jay Farrar, Dave Bryson, Mark Spencer, Andrew Duplantis
Photo: Emily Nathan.

HONKY TONK 

“Break up the silence
 Make it clear
 Make it last…” – “Down the Highway”

From his earliest recordings in the 1990s as a founding member of Uncle Tupelo, Jay Farrar has been a keen observer of the American landscape: its beauties and its tragedies, salvations and poisons.

It’s a perspective that’s been hard-won by steady touring and travel through this nation, and Farrar’s almost two-decades as the leader of Son Volt (as well as impressive turns as an acclaimed solo artist and collaborator) have only deepened and sharpened his gift for capturing the sights and sounds of his American journey – a gift which is in evidence once again on Son Volt’s sixth studio album: Honky Tonk.

After all, few places are as quintessentially American as the honky tonks where neon beckons to lonely and discontented souls with the promise that sorrows can be drowned in whiskey, cigarettes and a timeless music in which the clear hard truths of its lyrics mine the emotional complexities of life and love as fiddle and pedal steel sweetly commiserate.
“Honky tonk music is about heartache, heartbreak, the road,” Farrar observes.

That music provides a touchstone for eleven new Son Volt songs that excavate the classic honky tonk sound of Bakersfield (and Texas and Tennessee too) yet distill and reimagine it. Honky Tonk stays true to what’s so appealing about honky tonk music, while stretching out its familiar contours into new shapes and spaces.

Farrar reflects that as he wrote and recorded the music so deeply steeped in tradition for Honky Tonk, “I realized I also wanted these songs to sound more contemporary and modern. There was no strict adherence to methodology of the past. You never want to be a nostalgia act.”

“Always a common thread between us…” – “Heart and Minds”

Farrar sees Honky Tonk as a record moving forward on the path toward a more acoustic-based music that Son Volt took on its last record, 2009’s American Central Dust (also on Rounder).
“The record is a continuation of what was happening with American Central Dust,” observes Farrar. “Once again, I didn’t play much if any electric guitar.”

Like American Central Dust, Son Volt recorded Honky Tonk in Farrar’s studio in St. Louis, with Mark Spencer (who also plays bass guitar, pedal steel and keyboards) at the recording helm. Dave Bryson provided drums and other percussion. Most of the songs on Honky Tonk were written in a two-week burst, and many of its compositions mine a more thematic lyrical vein inspired by a traditional country music aesthetic, which Farrar first explored on the band’s previous record.

“I was always averse to using certain words in songs,” recalls Farrar, “including ‘love’ and ‘heart.’ But I started using them on [American Central Dust] and now I guess the floodgates have opened.”

Indeed, many of Honky Tonk’s songsdwell on affairs of the heart, including the album’s opening tracks, “Hearts and Minds,” a speedy Cajun waltz which assays the delicate balance between love’s steadfastness and its caprice, and “Brick Walls,” a lover’s plaint steeped in pedal steel that embraces the notion that “love’s a Spanish word to be sung.”

It’s also there in a song like “Barricades,” which affirms the necessity of pushing forward in the face of overwhelming despair and defeat in a way that makes it seem that playwright Samuel Beckett might have had a backing band called the Buckaroos.  “No wage can buy what the world never wanted,” Farrar sings. “Hearts press on anyway, undaunted.”

This continuing lyrical turn toward the heart is woven into an even more countrified sound on Honky Tonk. Much of the immediate inspiration for the intense exploration of honky tonk music came directly from Farrar’s recent decision to learn to play a new instrument.

“In the time in between Son Volt records, I started learning pedal steel guitar,” Farrar says. “I play with a local band in St. Louis now and then called Colonel Ford. So I was immersed in honky tonk music, the Bakersfield sound, in particular. And it was almost second nature when I started writing the songs for this record.”

Indeed, a song titled “Bakersfield” serves as a swaggering Baedeker to the enduring musical and lyrical charms of the genre, from its evocation of Merle Haggard in the “sound of heartbreak from a jail cell” to the bars where “hell breaks loose on Saturday night” and its nod to the agriculture heartland in which many of these classic songs are rooted, a place where workers “sweat and toil one with the land.”  

“No cup of gold, no Candy Mountain,” sings Farrar. “No better place to make a stand.”

That pedal steel sound that Farrar has grown so fond of playing winds through most of the songs on Honky Tonk, with much of the playing provided by St. Louis musician Brad Sarno. But Son Volt’s leader also found places on the record to work in another signature of that classic music: a jolt of twin fiddle provided by 2010 Grand Master fiddle champion Justin Branum and Gary Hunt (who also plays mandolin and electric guitar on Honky Tonk).

“Twin fiddles were such a feature of the 1950’s Grand Old Opry,” says Farrar.  “I was watching some old episodes where there were two and sometimes three fiddle players in the house band. It’s an interesting sound, a natural chorus effect”.

Album opener “Hearts and Minds” is one song where that trademark twin fiddle dominates, and Farrar recalls with pleasure the interplay between Branum and Hunt in the recording of that tune. 

“When we were listening to the playback of the song,” Farrar says, “I heard Justin make the comment, ‘Here's where I add the third fiddle.’ Justin is one fiddle player approximating the sound of two while he plays side by side with Gary, which at certain points in the song actually sounds like three fiddles playing.” 

Farrar also points to the enigmatic “Seawall” as another place on the record where twin fiddle provides key element of the sound. “There’s a lot of power when the whole band drops out, and you get a burst of twin fiddle,” he observes.

Yet for all its hearkening back to a classic sound, Honky Tonk possesses a restless urge to make its source music new. On the somber “Livin’ On,” St. Louis roots music stalwart Thayne Bradford’s accordion is stretched out into a cold, haunted and disorienting sound that matches perfectly with Farrar’s meditation on a defiant stubbornness – the “reckless side of tradition” – in which “not even happiness falling down/ can ever change your mind.”   

For a music that seeks to evoke the dark and smoky corners of the soul, classic honky tonk music (especially the Bakersfield variety) boasts an enviable clarity and crispness in its production. So in the moments when Son Volt washes the genre’s trademark instruments in echo, or distorts them to a shimmer or shards, it’s hard not to hear Farrar’s acknowledgment of what time’s passage has wrought on the music – and of the powerful ghosts tend to appear when old songs are summoned up.  Or, as Farrar himself asks on “Seawall,” a song on which the inevitable decay of what we do and build is evoked so powerfully: “Do honky tonk angels still walk this ground?”  

“Always a wild wind blowin’/ Just want a guitar and a radio” – “Bakersfield”

With almost 20 years on the road, listeners will likely wonder where Honky Tonk fits into the trajectory of the Son Volt’s storied career. 

There are obvious points of connection between Honky Tonk and some of the most notable moments in the band’s history. The ebullience of “Hearts and Minds” and the buoyant optimism of “Barricades” bring to mind “Windfall,” the classic opener to the band’s first record, Trace. And it’s hard not to recall some of the more countrified moments of the band’s second record, Straightaways, (songs like “Creosote,” “Left a Slide,” “Last Minute Shakedown”) in a number of songs on Honky Tonk.

“I see Son Volt as a continuum from the first record,” Farrar says, adding that the band has consistently tried, on all of its records, to explore a continuing dialectic between the sheen and shimmer of the studio and the immediacy and urgency of live recording.

“There’s really a combination of raw and polished sounds on this Son Volt record,” he says. “That approach has been there since the first song [“Windfall”] on the first Son Volt record.”
Yet there are even deeper thematic continuities between this new music from Son Volt and its past endeavors. Honky Tonk – as well as Farrar’s forthcoming book, Falling Cars and Junkyard Dogs (Counterpoint) – both continue his ongoing exploration of America’s landscape through the redemptive power of its music.

In that regard, a song like “Down the Highway” is a key addition to the band’s legacy. Mandolin and fiddle partner here to push forward a steady shuffle that sums up a number of Son Volt’s journeys thus far. “Throw this love down the highway, and see where it takes you,” sings Farrar. 

“The song’s about the need to take music on the road,” he explains.

Farrar’s commitment to that quest, and his desire to find (as he puts it elsewhere on “Down the Highway”) “a world of wisdom inside a fiddle tune” is the thread that connects Son Volt’s work – and makes Honky Tonk a landmark on that continuing journey.  

MUSIC



 
 
Okemah And The Melody Of Riot
Honky Tonk

Release Date:  March 05, 2013
Buy CD | Buy Vinyl


The Search
Artifacts

Release Date:  March 05, 2013
Digital Download
   
The Search
American Central Dust

Release Date:  July 07, 2009
Buy CD


Okemah And The Melody Of Riot
The Search

Release Date:  March 06, 2007
Buy CD
 
Okemah And The Melody Of Riot
Okemah And The Melody Of Riot
Release Date:  October 04, 2005
Buy CD


The Search
A Retrospective 1995 - 2000

Release Date:  May 24, 2005
 

  Okemah And The Melody Of Riot
Wide Swing Tremolo
Release Date:  October 06, 1998
The Search
Straightaways

Release Date: April 22, 1997
     
     
  Okemah And The Melody Of Riot
Trace
Release Date:  September 19, 1995
     
     

Son Volt LIVE 6 String Belief
Buy DVD
6 String Belief DVD

Recorded September 23, 2005


Son Volt LIVE 6 String Belief
Buy DVD
Live From Austin, Texas DVD

Recorded November 11, 1996





PHOTOS

Press Photos:

Son Volt - The Search Press Photo
Click photo for high res version. Once open, right click "Save as" to download high res version.
Left to right: Gary Hunt, Jay Farrar, Dave Bryson, Mark Spencer, Andrew Duplantis
Photo: Emily Nathan



EXTRAS

...coming soon...




CONTACT

Band - grainelevator@sonvolt.net – PO Box 3141, Jersey City, NJ 07303

Management - Sharon Agnello for Steel Toe – sharon@steeltoemgmt.com

North American, Australian & Japanese booking – Frank Riley & Brian Jonas for High Road Touring brian@highroadtouring.com

UK & European Booking: Bas Flesseman for Belmont Booking – Bas Flesseman bas@belmontbookings.nl

Publicity: Regina Joskow for Rounder Records – Regina Joskow rjoskow@rounder.com



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