Written by Jose Ortega
Sep 16, 2005 at 08:00 PM
ImageWell I hit the road this weekend down to Texas to see one of the greatest bands of all time, Jay Farrar’s Son Volt. Singer/Songwriters just don’t get much better than Jay Farrar, be it solo, with Uncle Tupelo, or with the always amazing Son Volt this guy is flat out the best thing out there.

Of course many will say this isn’t really Son Volt due to the fact that other than Jay there are no original members present. I am of the mind that Jay Farrar is Son Volt. It is his words, his music, his voice, Jay Farrar is Son Volt.

Honestly I think the original lineup of Son Volt is fantastic, one of my top favorites of all time, but Jay Farrar with these new guys are absolutely just as good and these were two phenomenal shows. When the new Son Volt started last year there was a lot of talk on the Jay Farrar Message Board http://jayfarrar.net/ about what happened between the original guys, all rumour cause none of us knew for sure. But in the end, with the fantastic album Okemah and the Melody of Riot, and this incredible live band, there is no worry about whether Jay Farrar and Son Volt are still alive and are still a very vital rock band. These guys are awesome.

I wasn’t quite ready for the rocking I received in Austin and Dallas. This band flat out rocked, kicked serious aiiisss. The set list was a perfect mix of new and old Son Volt as well as hard and soft songs. Jay’s guitar work and voice was flawless as always and just mind blowing to behold. The band, guitarist Chris Frame, bassist Andy Duplantis, drummer Dave Bryson and keyboardist Derrick Deborja did not dissapoint. Super tight rhythm throughout, great backing vocals from Duplantis. Chris Frame’s guitar playing was simply beautiful. He nailed the solos and added some outstanding slide guitar.

The song selection was great, obviously the main emphasis was on the new album, but a great selection from Trace, Straightaways and Wide Swing Tremolo, as well as Damn Shame from Farrar’s Sebastopol album. Great guitar work throughout obiously. The best version of Tear Stained Eye I have ever heard, I think Chris Frame’s soloing on that would make even the Boquist Brother’s cry. The rocking version of Drown right into the new song Afterglow 61 was great. There were some wonderful crazy guitar work on Choas Streams and Medication. Jet Pilot nearly blew the roof off of both venues (even though Stubb’s is outdoors). The absolutely amazing encore included a cover of Armagideon Time, very much NOT A REGGAE VERSION like the original and the Clash’s version, but maybe the most rocking song of the night, followed by Uncle Tupelo’s Chickamagua.

Wow!!!!!! Both nights I was just blown away. Son Volt is alive and well. It was already obvious from the new album, but live music is Jay Farrar’s bread and butter and these shows absolutely proved that he and his band are just about the best thing out there!

Opening act Earlimart was great both nights as well. I don’t know much about them, their names or their songs, but they were all great. I really enjoyed them, especially the drummer. Dude could outright tear up the drums.