"Honky Tonk" marks Jay Farrar and company's eighth release in nearly 20 years of creativity and shows us that they have not finished their musical explorations quite yet. Son Volt still remains original while paying tribute to sounds of the past.
Record label and release date: "Honky Tonk" was released by Rounder Records on March 5, 2013.
RIYL: Uncle Tupelo, Bob Dylan's more country-western years, and the silky smooth treatments of pedal-steel guitars.
Hometown: St. Louis.
Other St. Louis connections: "Honky Tonk" was recorded in Farrar's St. Louis recording studio by Mark Spencer, a frequent collaborator with Farrar. The assistant engineer for the sessions was St. Louisan Jason Hutto of Warm Jets USA and the Phonocaptors.
Standout tracks: Lead-off waltz "Hearts and Minds" exemplifies Son Volt's new and fresh take on traditional country sounds; "Livin' On" is a perfectly crafted song regarding heartache and the different paths life has to offer.
This label: Rounder was founded in 1970 by three college students Ken Irwin, Bill Nowlin, and Marian Leighton-Levy; it was one of the first record labels to be involved with compact discs in 1985.
Play it while: Sipping a beer at an old-school speakeasy or, quite appropriately, a honky-tonk bar.
About the album art: The cover of Honky Tonk shows a portrait of the Southwest, or possibly the Midwest: the image features American flatlands with rows of crops and an overcast sky which somehow still provides the ground with sunlight.
Did you know: Bandleader Jay Farrar has a deep admiration for folk legend Woody Guthrie and owns a custom guitar crafted from parts found at the site of Guthrie's childhood home.
What the critics say: "Not since Gram Parsons and the Byrds' "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" has there been such country-rock candy…." -- Gene Triplett, Look at OKC
Playing St. Louis: Son Volt will perform in St. Louis at the Pageant on June 1, 2013.