Tag Archives: Son Volt


Son Volt Bring a True Sound to The Bowery Ballroom on Friday Night

April 10th, 2017

Son Volt – The Bowery Ballroom – April 7, 2017

Son Volt – The Bowery Ballroom – April 7, 2017
The Bowery Ballroom was packed on Friday night as fans eagerly waited for alt-country pioneers Son Volt to take the stage. Jay Farrar and Co. were in town for two sold-out weekend appearances supporting their new album, Notes of Blue, which finds the band mixing their rough-around-the-edges heartland anthems with a more bluesy sound. Opening the show, singer-songwriter Anders Parker eased the crowd into the night with a set of slow-burning ballads and fiery rockers. He said that a new album called The Man Who Fell from Earth arrives this week, describing it as a somber affair with Parker backed by just a pedal-steel guitar and a string trio. But he and his band opted to put some muscle behind the new material live, suitably spreading out the songs with guitar solos reminiscent of Neil Young in all of his ragged glory.

When Jay Farrar walked onstage and stepped up to the microphone to sing, “Today’s world is not my home” in his whiskey-soaked croon there was no mistaking what he meant. Ever since the dissolution of his partnership with Jeff Tweedy in the seminal alt-country band Uncle Tupelo in the mid-’90s, Farrar has been making records with Son Volt that strive for a similar gold standard: records that seem like they’ve been etched into stone and remain timeless if not out of step with the times. The new album was given the lion’s share of the set, but Son Volt managed to weave in some old favorites including the majority of their classic debut album, Trace, which, two years ago, was reissued for its 20th anniversary.

The band’s encore found them reaching deep for some Tupelo classics and Trace’s opening track, “Windfall,” which inspired the biggest crowd sing-along as the chorus “May the wind take your troubles away” rang crystal clear from the choir of flannel-clad fans raising their drinks toward the sky. Just when we thought it was over, and the audience began to thin out, the band returned to the stage for one more encore and played an exuberant cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Happy.” It was a real cherry on top of an already perfect night of rock and roll. —Patrick King | @MrPatKing

Photos courtesy of Marc Millman Photography | www.marcmillmanphotos.com/music


Waiting for Henry Play Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

March 14th, 2014

Singer-guitarist Dave Slomin, drummer-singer Dave Ashdown and bassist Mike Chun are Waiting for Henry, “a new band of old friends.” They were all in groups in upstate New York during the late ’80s, Slomin and Ashdown bandmates, while Chu was part of a different group. Years later, Slomin, who fronted Mr. Henry, and Chun ran into each other in New York City and realized they had similar tastes in music. So when Ashdown later moved to town, the three decided to get to work. Their debut full-length, last year’s Ghosts & Compromise (stream it below), is filled with the kind of twangy guitar-driven Americana that’s seen the band compared to Wilco and Son Volt. And like with those bands, Waiting for Henry (above, performing “Here Comes the Rain”) are best experienced live. See them play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night.


Son Volt Take the Road to The Bowery Ballroom

June 17th, 2013

Son Volt – The Bowery Ballroom – June 14, 2013

The Bowery Ballroom would never be described as a honky-tonk, but when Son Volt rolled through town, treating Friday night’s sold-out crowd to songs from their latest record, the aptly titled Honky Tonk, New York City got a little taste of the twangy Western swing made popular at those titular roadside joints. Making good use of Gary Hunt on the mandolin and fiddle and Mark Spencer on steel guitar, Son Volt frontman Jay Farrar expressed timeless country themes, namely, heartbreak and the power of the open road, in new songs “Bakersfield,” “Brick Walls” and “Wild Side.”

But even though Honky Tonk finds Son Volt honing in on classic Americana themes and country-music styles, Friday’s set wasn’t just about an acoustic aesthetic. The band equally relished performing harder rocking numbers like “Drown” and “Bandages and Scars,” songs that cement the alt in alt-country, a genre in which they found a sturdy foothold during their formation. Of course, even in their early days, Son Volt explored many of the same themes as they do in the new material.

Performing “Windfall,” a mid-’90s ode to getting away and “trying to make it far enough to the next time zone,” Farrar plaintively sang, “May the wind take your troubles away/ Both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel/ May the wind take your troubles away.” Over the years, this restless spirit has made Farrar a veteran of the road and served as inspiration for countless Son Volt lyrics and songs. Hopefully that road leads him back to these parts again, where our pseudo-honky-tonks will welcome the band with open arms and raised glasses. —Alena Kastin




Fifth Annual Northside Festival Kicks Off Tonight at Music Hall

June 13th, 2013

“Proudly powered by L Magazine,” Brooklyn’s fifth annual Northside Festival—eight
days of music, art, film and entrepreneurship in Williamsburg and Greenpoint “and some secret surprise spots too”—is back, beginning today. The festival’s music portion runs through Sunday, and Music Hall of Williamsburg hosts four great, wide-ranging shows, starting tonight with Iceage (below, performing “White Rune”) and A Place to Bury Strangers. Tomorrow it continues with Osiris Presents Kylesa, and following a sold-out show at The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night, the alt-country (although we prefer y’alternative) Son Volt play Music Hall on Saturday, before English punks Subhumans close out the festival there on Sunday night. So think global and rock out local.


Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Son Volt on 6/14

June 11th, 2013


Jay Farrar’s influential alt-country outfit Son Volt are coming our way to play two shows this weekend. Tickets remain to see them at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday, but if you want to see them on Friday at The Bowery Ballroom, your best bet is to try to Grow a Pair of tickets from The House List. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Son Volt, 6/14) and a brief message explaining why Jay Farrar rules. Eddie Bruiser, a fan going back to Uncle Tupelo, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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This Jam Is Your Jam

March 15th, 2012

Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Yim Yames and Anders Parker – Webster Hall – March 14, 2012

While the stage was loaded with talent last night show at Webster Hall, the real MVP might have been the lone roadie/guitar tech. The crowd watched this guy tune about a zillion guitars—acoustic, electric, bass—getting the stage ready. It was an impressive feat and all that work was absolutely necessary because  every single instrument was used to its fullest extent over the course of an awe-inspiring show. This was a modern day supergroup playing music written to accompany unfinished lyrics and writings of Woody Guthrie. The band is Jay Farrar (Son Volt, et al.), Anders Parker (Gob Iron, et al.), Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Will Johnson (Centro-matic, et al.), who nominally played rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass and drums respectively.

They performed with a communal spirit that would have made Guthrie proud, sharing lead vocals and swapping roles throughout the night. As far as supergroups go, this one is about halfway between Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Blind Faith, matching hefty harmonies with all-out rock and roll. The first part of the show was expected as the band rolled through all the material on New Multitudes. It was great to watch each member take the lead role and see the others transform into a backing band in the style of that leader. So that Farrar’s opener, “Hoping Machine,” embraced Son Volt’s twang-with-grit feel while James’s “My Revolutionary Mind” had a distinct MMJ arc, starting with a focus on his voice and then exploding into a flesh-crawling rock jam. Practically every permutation of two-, three- and four-part harmonies were realized, with each voice distinctly on its own making powerful music together. My personal highlight was “Chorine My Sheba Queen” with James sweetly harmonizing with Johnson’s lead vocal while Parker and Farrar beautifully laid down atmospheric drum-melody behind them.

The set lasted about an hour, and the crowd, which had been a perfect balance of enthusiastic and attentive all night, howled for an encore. What they got in return would better be described as a full-on second set as each member played a solo acoustic tune of his own, capped by James’s spine-tingling sing-along version of “Wonderful (The Way I Feel).” Again the show felt satisfyingly complete, but the band wasn’t yet finished, as each member highlighted another of his songs with the whole band in tow, each seemingly topping the previous in a playful we-rock-harder competition. As the “encore” reached the hour mark, the band played a ninth song with every member taking lead for a verse. What followed was a blistering, jammy  rock out with noisy guitar interplay shaking Webster Hall that went on in glorious feedback, surely exactly the way Woody Guthrie diagrammed it many years ago, until each musician left the stage one at a time to rousing applause (and a nod to the guy who had to tune all those guitars). —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com