Deep and mysterious, the lead vocalist of the alternative country band Son Volt sounds like the singer from the retired group Uncle Tupelo – and with good reason. It’s the same guy.
With an unmistakable voice, Jay Farrar organized Son Volt after leaving Uncle Tupelo in 1994. Sun Volt introduces a new style to the country world with distorted electric guitars.
In October, Son Volt will release its new album, Wide Swing Tremolo (Warner Bros. Records). Although Wide Swing Tremolo brings a fresh alternative rock sound to Son Volt’s songs, country fans will not be disappointed. Some songs are reminiscent of the weary cowboy’s melancholy memories of the heartland of Dixie.
The new mix of alternative punk rock and country is as interesting as the multi-talented band members. Lead acoustic guitarist, Dave Boquist, improvises on electric guitar, banjo and lap steel all on one song. His brother, Jim Boquist, plays bass and backs up lead vocalist Farrar on vocals in two-part harmony. These three creative country artists are tied together with Mike Heidorn on drums.
Son Volt gets its alternative sound from the Boquist brothers’ experience playing with bands like Soul Asylum, the Jayhawks and the Replacements in the late 1980s. The band not only acquired styles from other groups, it named itself in honor of the legendary bluesman, Son House.
Although the members of Son Volt are individually talented, the group is missing something as a whole. The band produces music to drink to, similar to the Grateful Dead, except Sun Volt’s sound is missing the good-times feeling. The band has pushed itself from composing traditional country-western rock to experimenting with detached alternative.
While Wide Swing Tremolo does not enthrall listeners, it has a few catchy tracks that grasp the listener’s attention. The album hits stores Oct. 1.