It’s been a couple of years since Alt.country stalwarts Son Volt last release, Union and Jay Farrar and company have not been idle in these pandemic times. Their tenth studio album will be released July 30th and will feature Son Volt’s current lineup of Mark Spencer, Chris Fame, Mark Patterson and Andrew DuPlantis..
The title, Electro Melodier, is taken from the names of two vintage amplifiers from the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, and will feature more intimate and socio-political musings from Farrar, who originally set out to make a nostalgic record that paid tribute to the music of his youth.
“I wanted to concentrate on the melodies which got me into music in the first place,” Farrar said in a statement. “I wanted politics to take a back seat this time, but it always seems to find a way back in there.”
The first cut from Electro Melodier is “Reverie,” (below) a song of hope and sepia memories laced with organ swells and chiming guitar.
The follow-up to 2019’s acclaimed release Union, Electro Melodier finds band founder Jay Farrar’s unparalleled songwriting as poignant and intelligent as ever. Electro Melodier touches on the thought-provoking issues that impact us all, including the pandemic, love, and the inevitable passing of time. The current political divide makes its appearance on the album as well. “I wanted to concentrate on the melodies which got me into music in the first place,” says Farrar. “I wanted politics to take a back seat this time, but it always seems to find a way back in there.”
“Livin’ in the USA” echoes protest songs of old, highlighting both the breakdown of our culture and planet. “Share a little truth with your neighbor down the block, We’ve all got fossil fuel lungs while we run out the clock,” Farrar sings. “The Globe” reverberates with the tensions that arise with the fight for equality. “People climbing skyward stairs, Deciders of their fate, You can see it everywhere, Change is in the air…” The sentimental “Diamonds and Cigarettes,” featuring vocals by country singer Laura Cantrell, lovingly pays homage to his wife, while “Lucky Ones” is a weary tale of gratitude.
Electro Melodier features band members Mark Spencer (piano, organ, acoustic slide, lap steel, backing vocals) Andrew DuPlantis (bass, backing vocals), Chris Frame (guitar) Mark Patterson (drums, percussion). Son Volt will take Electro Melodier on the road with select tour date in summer and fall. See below and for tickets go to https://sonvolt.net/.
Farrar started Son Volt in 1994 after leaving the seminal group Uncle Tupelo, whose No Depression album helped define the alt-country and Americana genre. Son Volt’s debut Trace was heavily lauded and remains a defining document of the ’90s alt-country movement. Two decades later, the group continue to decidedly capture the times while breaking new musical ground on Electro Melodier.