Son Volt

Son Volt

Son Volt

Okemah and the Melody of Riot

Transmit Sound

It’s hard to imagine Son Volt’s music existing outside of an autumn context. There’s something innately amber-hued in the band’s ramshackle rhythms and fiery barn-burners. Even after neglecting the moniker for six years to explore less traditional territory as a solo artist, Jay Farrar resurrected Son Volt — albeit with an entirely different backing band — to add another entry in the band’s back catalog. Okemah and the Melody of Riot has a different feel to it than previous Son Volt releases. Time and distance were bound to take its toll, and this time around Farrar’s world-weary tales stay closer to simple, quiet arrangements than the stormy swagger of the past. It suits Farrar’s maturation as a songwriter, but the empty spaces are aching for an incendiary track like “Catching On” or “Caryatid Easy.”

This disc is Farrar’s first overtly political album. Where political and social issues bubbled beneath the surface of Uncle Tupelo’s cover selections, “Jet Pilot,” “Endless War” and “Bandages & Scars” leave no doubt about what’s on Farrar’s mind. While UT’s venomous version of the Soft Boys’ “I Wanna Destroy You” betrayed the anger of youth, these songs plead for a resolution on a rational level.

On the flipside of the dual disc is a DVD of supplemental material, including the entire album with printed lyrics and a 30-minute “making of” documentary. The doc, while light on substance, does provide the historically press-shy Farrar with a chance to more fully explain the inspiration behind his songs. Live footage is interspersed throughout, including the non-album track “Joe Citizen Blues.” The season to fully experience this album might have passed, but these songs are likely to sustain their power for many autumns to come.

Transmit Sound:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Four-Letter Words
    Four-Letter Words

    No need to worry about offending delicate sensibilities with this playlist. We’re not talking about profanity, so just take the title at face value.

  • A Genesis In My Bed
    A Genesis In My Bed

    Former Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett shares his life story in his story in an engaging and honest memoir. Reading his story feels like hanging out with a friend who’s interested in sharing how he felt living these experiences.

  • The Jayhawks
    The Jayhawks

    XOXO (Sham/Thirty Tigers). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • 18 to Party
    18 to Party

    When you’re in 8th grade, sneaking into a bar is way cooler than it is when you’re 40.

  • Adam

    A pregnant woman finds a home in Casablanca.

  • 2020 on Fire
    2020 on Fire

    Sound Salvation takes on current events with a playlist addressing the current fight for racial and social justice in America and the battles playing out in the streets in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

  • Pokey Lafarge
    Pokey Lafarge

    Rock Bottom Rhapsody (New West Records). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • Landfall

    Cecilia Aldarondo takes a look at Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

  • Daniel Silva
    Daniel Silva

    Drummer Daniel Silva talks influences and more with Stacey Zering.

  • Bill Kirchen
    Bill Kirchen

    The Proper Years (Last Music Co.). Review by James Mann.

From the Archives