Son Volt: “Back Against the Wall”


Son Volt will be releasing a new album, Notes of Blue on February 17, 2017. From the sound of one of the tracks, “Back Against the Wall,” it could be another classic album from the band led by singer-songwriter Jay Farrar.

The sound of the new album is reportedly influenced by the work of Mississippi Fred McDowell, Skip James and Nick Drake.

Son Volt has already released the song “Back Against the Wall” from the upcoming album. Check it out.



What do you think of the new Son Volt music? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • Uncle Tupelo’s Last Concert on May 1, 1994
  • Catching an All-Night Station: Son Volt Re-Issuing “Trace”
  • Son Volt Goes to Bakersfield on “Honky Tonk”
  • Anniversary of Uncle Tupelo’s “March 16-20, 1992”
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)

    Uncle Tupelo’s Last Concert on May 1, 1994

    The great alt-country band Uncle Tupelo played its last concert on May 1, 1994, at Mississippi Nights in St. Louis, Missouri. Fortunately, the concert is now available on YouTube in high quality video.

    By the time of this show, Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar were already not getting along well. Soon after the performance, they would both go on to create other bands, with Farrar founding Son Volt and Tweedy forming Wilco.

    But on that night in May 1994, there was one last grasp at combined harmony and greatness. In the video below, Tweedy and Farrar trade off on the lead vocals, with drummer Mike Heindon joining the band on the final song of the set, “Looking for a Way Out,” and also singing on the encore with Brian Henneman and the Bottle Rockets on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Three Steps.”

    So, take some time to travel back to 1994 when one of the great bands was still together. The final words of the show: “That’s got to be it.” Check it out.

    From YouTube, the songs at this performance are: “No Depression”/ “Chickamauga”/ “Watch Me Fall”/ “Grindstone”/ “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down”/ “Fifteen Keys”/ “Long Cut”/ “Anodyne”/ “New Madrid”/ “Slate”/ “Atomic Power”/ “Postcard”/ “Gun”/ “High Water”/ “Acuff-Rose”/ “True to Life”/ “We’ve Been Had”/ “Give Back the Key To My Heart”/ “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere”/ “Whiskey Bottle”/ “Truck Drivin’ Man”/ “Looking for a Way Out” (w/ Mike Heidorn)/ “Gimme Three Steps” (w/ Heidorn and the Bottle Rockets, Brian Henneman vocals).

    What is your favorite Uncle Tupelo song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • Son Volt Goes to Bakersfield on “Honky Tonk”
  • Anniversary of Uncle Tupelo’s “March 16-20, 1992”
  • New Track from Jeff Tweedy: “I’ll Sing It”
  • Son Volt: “Back Against the Wall”
  • Catching an All-Night Station: Son Volt Re-Issuing “Trace”
  • Final UK Concert of Rod Stewart & The Faces in 1974
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)

    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.)

    Son Volt Goes to Bakersfield on “Honky Tonk”

    On Tuesday, March 5, Son Volt releases its seventh album Honky Tonk (2013). The country Bakersfield Sound influences the album, and lead singer Jay Farrar described why the band chose the album’s title: “Honky tonk music is about heartache, heartbreak, the road.” For those like me who have been following Farrar and Son Volt since the band spun off from Uncle Tupelo, the new album captures what was great about the band from the very beginning, even though Farrar’s current version of Son Volt has different band members than when they started. Just listen to the fiddle on the opening track, “Hearts and Minds”:

    Here is Son Volt’s teaser video for the appropriately entitled “Bakersfield” from the album:

    American Songwriter magazine is streaming the album for a limited time, so hop to their website to hear the rest of the tracks. Farrar also has a new memoir Falling Cars and Junkyard Dogs coming out this month about his career, including the breakup of Uncle Tupelo that led Jeff Tweedy to create Wilco. After listening through the tracks, I am excited about the new release. With new and upcoming releases from Son Volt, The Mavericks, Steve Earle, and others, it is already looking like a good year for Americana music.

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

  • Uncle Tupelo’s Last Concert on May 1, 1994
  • Anniversary of Uncle Tupelo’s “March 16-20, 1992”
  • New Track from Jeff Tweedy: “I’ll Sing It”
  • Son Volt: “Back Against the Wall”
  • Merle Haggard: “Kern River”
  • Catching an All-Night Station: Son Volt Re-Issuing “Trace”
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)

    Anniversary of Uncle Tupelo’s “March 16-20, 1992”

    This month is the anniversary of Uncle Tupelo’s album March 16-20, 1992, which for some strange reason is the only album in my collection where I remember the exact date it was made. The album, which was produced by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, was recorded on the dates in the title, featuring both original songs and traditional songs.

    This third album from Uncle Tupelo reflected the band’s frustrations with its record label, so the band decided to record music they wanted to record without regard for popular tastes. Below is Uncle Tupelo performing one of the traditional songs on the album, “Moonshiner” in Columbia, Missouri on November 13, 1992.

    The CD also featured the Louvin Brothers classic, “Atomic Power.” Here is Uncle Tupelo performing the song on April 30, 1994 in St. Louis, Missouri at their second-to-last show together.

    The first song on the album, “Grindstone,” is one of my favorites of the CD. I could not find a live Uncle Tupelo performance of the song. But after Uncle Tupelo broke up, Jay Farrar, who wrote “Grindstone,” performed it with his new band, Son Volt in Minneapolis on October 16, 1995.

    Uncle Tupelo was at the forefront of the alt-country/Americana music scene in the 1990s, and the title of their first album, named after a Carter Family song, gave the name to the leading magazine of the genre, No Depression. But after March 16-20, 1992, the band released only one more CD, Anodyne (1993).

    After the band’s final album, Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy dissolved the band in 1994 to go on to create more music with new bands, including fantastic work with Son Volt and Wilco, respectively. But those five days in March on this date all those years ago, they created one of the albums that defined their permanent place in music history.

    What is your favorite Uncle Tupelo song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • Uncle Tupelo’s Last Concert on May 1, 1994
  • Son Volt Goes to Bakersfield on “Honky Tonk”
  • New Track from Jeff Tweedy: “I’ll Sing It”
  • Son Volt: “Back Against the Wall”
  • Catching an All-Night Station: Son Volt Re-Issuing “Trace”
  • “Roll Columbia” Captures Spirit of Woody Guthrie (Album Review)
  • (Some Related Chimesfreedom Posts)