Catching an All-Night Station: Son Volt Re-Issuing “Trace”

In 1995, Jay Farrar — fresh off the dissolution of Uncle Tupelo — released the album Trace with his new band Son Volt. The album was an instant classic, and I still maintain that the album as two of the greatest alt-country songs ever released, “Windfall” and “Tear-Stained Eye.” Now, Son Volt is releasing a twentieth anniversary edition of the album with bonus tracks in a 2-CD set.

The original album also remains as one of the great modern meditations on themes of alienation and rural living, with lyrics touched by Farrar’s efforts to come to terms with the breakup of Uncle Tupelo. As Richard Byrne wrote at the time of the original release in Riverfront Times (St. Louis): ” Trace is a long love poem to the Mississippi River, with passages of sheer poetic intensity. It’s also an emotional chronicle of the breakup of Farrar’s former band. . . . Much of Trace has a spirit and a substance that many of the great American novels of this century have.”

Rhino Records and Warner Brothers Records are working together to release the expanded and remastered deluxe edition of Trace, which in addition to the album will include eight demos of album tracks. Also, the second CD will feature a 15-track live set from a February 12, 1996 show at The Bottom Line. There also will be an LP version, downloadable tracks, and an expanded booklet.

Jay Farrar will also be hitting the road to perform songs from the classic album, billing the tour as “Jay Farrar Performs Songs of Trace.” He will be joined by original pedal steel player, Eric Heywood, along with Gary Hunt, who plays a number of instruments. May the new release and tour take your troubles away, as in this 1996 Austin City Limits performance of “Windfall.”

The new remastered and deluxe version of Trace hits stores on October 30.

What is your favorite Son Volt song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • Son Volt: “Back Against the Wall”
  • Uncle Tupelo’s Last Concert on May 1, 1994
  • Son Volt Goes to Bakersfield on “Honky Tonk”
  • Anniversary of Uncle Tupelo’s “March 16-20, 1992”
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)

    2 thoughts on “Catching an All-Night Station: Son Volt Re-Issuing “Trace””

    1. Windfall is my favorite song. I don’t know from where, but we also have their version of Ain’t No More Cane which is in my list of all time favorites.

      1. “Ain’t No More Cane” is a good recording too. Son Volt’s version of the traditional prison work song originally was not on an album, but it eventually appeared on their compilation album A Retrospective: 1995-2000.

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