Apparently it was hailing in Hollywood today. I did not get any of it, which is fine by me. I like the theory of hail, just not the practice or reality of it. Do I need to have tiny projectiles pummeling my car? Hell no, I get that every day anyway from the trucks on the freeway, whose 18 tires shoot tiny pebbles at my windows like a drunk 15-year-old with his first BB gun. Look at my car and you’d think I was in a shoot out… There are marks everywhere… though I suppose most of them are from the idiots who slam open their doors into me, clearly not caring about the dings and dents they leave behind… Ah, people…
So there was that! And there is this.
Uncle Tupelo was a great band that hailed from Belleville, Illinois and was on the forefront of the whole Alt. Country movement. They lasted from 1987 to 1994. One of my biggest regrets was leaving Chicago so quickly… not only because of missing out on the amazing Second City, and whatever that may have brought me… but I imagine I would have been going to a lot of Uncle Tupelo shows.
Sadly, like so many great bands, they imploded… and broke up before major success even hit.
Luckily for us, out of those musical ashes came two other fantastic bands. The first was Jay Farrar’s Son Volt. The second was a continuation of Uncle Tupelo and a small band you have probably never heard of called Wilco and lead by Jeff Tweedy.
Okay… ha ha. Obviously Wilco has had some major success, and I am a huge fan of that band… though shockingly I have NEVER seen them live…
I know… I too, often ask, WHO THE HELL AM I???
But Son Volt is a band that should also require your attention.
I love Jay’s voice as well as his songwriting. I felt like his tunes were some of the best on the New Multitudes/Woody Guthrie tribute project he did with Will Johnson, Anders Parker and Yim Yames (the clever and hard to decipher, alternate moniker of My Morning Jacket’s Jim James). I highly recommend that album, as well as Jim’s new solo project…
And yes, I know that my post on that album is way late… it got lost in the mix… I mean my virtual dog ate it… Either way I am sorry, and will post it soon. Today is about Son Volt’s amazing new record Honky Tonk.
Jay’s voice is at once recognizable and at the same time unique. It sounds so familiar, as if you have heard it so many times before… Heck, many of you probably have… but I meant that in the more historical way. It is just steeped in tradition… country and cowboy… But it is also quite his own. That is a big thing I love about this band, too. There is always an understanding of what and who came before, but a more Rock n’ Roll take on the music of Route 66 and Nashville.
The first track is “Hearts And Minds” which is ironic for me in that I literally just read an interview with the great David Scott (of The Pearlfishers and BMX Bandits) where he discussed, amongst other things, his first band, Hearts and Minds! If you want to hear some stunningly beautiful, Brian Wilson inspired pop, you MUST listen to The Pearlfishers… I love that band. Thanks, SRM!
I could totally hear this song as I pulled into the parking lot of the old Palomino Club in North Hollywood… sadly and frustratingly closed in 1995. Actually, I could hear this whole record… and Honky Tonk hits it right on the head… They’re a little bit country… and a little bit Rock n’ Roll… Well… maybe a lot country on this one!
“Down The Highway”, “Livin’ On” and the closer “Shine On” are my standout tracks… but the whole record will rock you down a sweet country mile. Enjoy the hay ride.