Son Volt – A Retrospective: 1995-2000; Warner Bros./Rhino

by | Nov 7, 2005 | Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews | 0 comments

Son Volt – A Retrospective: 1995-2000; Warner Bros./Rhino R2 74619 CD ***1/2: 

Son Volt is: Jay Farrar (vocals, guitars, dulcimer, keyboards, and
harmonica), Dave Boquist (guitars, violin, banjo, lap steel, and
dobro), Jim Boquist (bass, backing vocals, and piano), and Mike Heidorn
(drums and percussion).  The band followed a lucky progression
from Farrar’s previous band, Uncle Tupelo, after leaving in 1994. 
Country rock was becoming popular although the music the band made is a
bit of spin-off to what most people consider country rock (i.e. country
rock of the 70s).   Bands like The Counting Crows have also
capitalized on the success of bands like Volt with hits that were very
much in the same vein.  Farrar wrote most of the material and
handles the lead vocals.  He whines and pleads creating a
synergistic blend with the lightly orchestrated music.  The
recording is raw and intimate—just listen to track four.  The
accompanying female vocals and fiddle make this a classic country
crooner tune.  The more I listened to this record, the more
likable it became.  Listening to some of the older material it is
clear than many newer bands have tried to copy the style and that is
compliment enough.

Some of the sound quality varied (like track 9 and 11)—they seemed
congested, frequency limited, and over processed.  The bass was
hitting some resonance that was giving me a headache.  This disc
contains music from the band’s three albums, plus some rarities,
unreleased material, and soundtrack music.  There are two unissued
demo recordings, a live acoustic recording, and covers of Woody
Guthrie’s “I’ve Got to Know,” and Leadbelly’s “Ain’t No More
Cane.”  Also included are a cover of Big Star’s “Holocaust” and a
promo-only release of “Tulsa County.”  The disc insert describes
the early history of the band throughout its growth and
conclusion.  In 1998 the band stopped recording and Farrar went
off to pursue a solo career.  Songs included are:  Drown;
Windfall; Route; Rex’s Blues; Looking At The World Through A
Windshield; Too Early; Back Into Your World; Picking Up The Signal;
I’ve Got To Know; Creosote; Straightface; Tulsa County; Driving The
View; Ain’t No More Cane; Flow; Holocaust; Tear Stained Eye (Four Track
Demo); Loose String (Four Track Demo); Medicine Hat (Live – Acoustic
Café); Open All Night.

-Brian Bloom

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