Jay Farrar

Terroir Blues (Artemis)

ACL Fest Record Reviews

Jay Farrar

Terroir Blues (Artemis) How long can you be introspective and mopey? Jay Farrar's gonna find out. On this third solo outing, Farrar reflects on tribulations both personal and worldly, and lets the quiet passages say as much as the music itself. It's an effort that's likely to be inaccessible for a lot of folks, with its relentlessly downbeat mood and Farrar's penchant for further removing himself from the roots of Son Volt/Uncle Tupelo. Still, it's rewarding for those willing to give it the time and room to breathe. Bottle Rocket Brian Henneman puts in an appearance from time to time on guitar and electric sitar, as Farrar strips down to the barest sonic essentials, including a cello on "Cahokian" and a flute on "Out on the Road." Interspersed throughout the 23 tracks are various "Space Junk," burbling lo-fi pastiches that correspond to the wiring diagrams on the CD's cover art. Farrar touches on personal relationships ("No Rolling Back"), post-industrial decay ("Cahokian," so named for the Indians in his native Illinois), and world-weary malaise ("All of Your Might"), with his tenor being about the only constant throughout. Once again, Jay Farrar has produced an album that's as stark and dreary -- and beautiful -- as the Midwest in winter. (Saturday, 4pm, HEB stage)

***

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