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Monday, 25 March 2013 09:30

Charting the Music: Son Volt, 'Honky Tonk'

Charting the Music: Son Volt, 'Honky Tonk' facebook.com/SonVolt
Written by Scott Knipshild
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Son Volt's "Honky Tonk" calls on inspiration drawn directly from the heartlands of America and takes on a much more classic approach to their alternative-country craft.

"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.

88.1 KDHX chart position: #2 Adult Album Alternative for March 19 2013, #1 Americana, and #1 CMJ Top 30 for March 12, 2013.

Record label and release date: "Honky Tonk" was released by Rounder Records on March 5, 2013.

Can be heard on: Mystery Train with Tim Rakel, Interstate with Pat Wolfe, and Bittersweet Melody with Allen Dahm.

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.

Discover more how to write an essay new music on all the 88.1 KDHX charts.

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