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Honky Tonk

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Editors’ Notes

Son Volt—essentially Uncle Tupelo's Jay Farrar and whatever team he puts together—hasn't changed much over the years. Farrar just digs in deeper. Here, Mark Spencer (Freedy Johnston, Laura Cantrell) handles bass guitar, keyboards, and pedal steel guitar, always the most important instrument for helping Son Volt's tonal poems turn Technicolor. Dave Bryson holds down the drums and percussion end. Written in a two-week rush of inspiration, Honky Tonk doesn't often make it near its title. It insists on acoustic instruments over electric guitars, but these aren't barroom country songs—though "Seawall" lopes along like it's on its way through the desert, "Hearts and Minds" captures the feel of '50s pre-Bakersfield country, and "Bakersfield" comes close to its goal. "Down the Highway" has some gorgeous harmonies. However, the plan is usually for Farrar to lean into his voice and let its attractive hum bring forth meditations on life's past, present, and future.

Customer Reviews

Thank You Jay!

While either sitting in a snow storm, driving down a dirt road in the middle of July, or caught somewhere in the middle. Where ever you are at - like all of Farrar's music; it will move you and take you somewhere else. Jay pours his slow musical dreams into your ears. The result is wonderful. His voice could possibly melt your dashboard.

It's THAT good!

Trace was my bar. The steel and fiddle are very much on par with the more mellow sides of Trace. Excellent album.

Honky Tonk

As always Jay Farrar delivers the goods. It takes a rock band to make the best country record I've heard in a decade. Fantastic.


Formed: 1994 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After touring in support of their 1993 masterpiece, Anodyne, the seminal alternative country band Uncle Tupelo split up over long-simmering creative differences between co-leaders Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy. Tweedy recruited much of the band to form Wilco, while Farrar teamed up with original Tupelo drummer Mike Heidorn to form Son Volt, the more tradition-minded of the two Tupelo offshoots. Joined by brothers Jim (bass) and Dave Boquist (guitar, fiddle, banjo, fiddle, steel guitar), the band signed...
Full Bio
Honky Tonk, Son Volt
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