Son Volt

Record Reviews

Son Volt

Honky Tonk (Rounder)

Anyone coming to Jay Farrar and friends' Honky Tonk thinking they've stumbled onto the next Buck Owens or Dale Watson might not be that disappointed. By the same token, any fans looking for state-of-the-art roots rock band Son Volt may want to look elsewhere. Here, the onetime Uncle Tupelo frontman uses country music, heartbreak, and the road as a jumping-off point to fashion something that's informed by the genre, only updated to contemporary standards. That means neo-traditional country as evidenced by the honky-tonk angels inhabiting the tune "Seawall." In many ways, these 11 songs follow the format of past Son Volt discs, taking their cue from Gram Parsons by adding a scuzzy rock & roll edge to a waltz like "Hearts and Minds" or to the shuffling "Bakersfield." "Down the Highway" might be another road song, but it rumbles as wisely and as tightly as anything on Son Volt's debut masterpiece, Trace. In the end, Honky Tonk is a slow burn, Farrar musing on life as scenery flashes past the van window, and the redemptive power of music. "Sad songs keep the devil away," he sings in "Angel of the Blues," and his keening way with words remains just such tonic.

***.5

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Sweet Spirit
St. Mojo (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, March 31, 2017

Texas Platters
Ruthie Foster
Joy Comes Back (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, March 31, 2017

More by Jim Caligiuri
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

SXSW Panel: Do Music Journalists Matter Anymore?
SXSW Panel: Do Music Journalists Matter Anymore?
Not even journalists were interested in finding out

March 17, 2017

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)