One Fast Move or I'm Gone (Music from Kerouac's Big Sur) [Audio/Video Deluxe Version]
Open iTunes to preview, buy, and download music.
To his credit, Son Volt leader Jay Farrar never tries to replicate the be-bop-based inflections of author Jack Kerouac’s literary muscle. With Death Cab for Cutie’s Benjamin Gibbard trading vocals, co-writes and authoring the title track, Farrar puts and paraphrases the Beat Generation writer’s words from his 1962 novel Big Sur to music that is pure America, Western division. Kerouac’s novel chronicles the author’s mental breakdown, his growing alcoholism, his writerly attempt to right his demons amongst the dramatic environs of Big Sur, California. As Kerouac found beauty and despair at poet Lawerence Ferlinghetti’s cabin, Farrar finds a loping, end of the continent sadness with chords and melodies that sound like one of Farrar’s own doomed solo albums. Gibbard adds an unusual youthful spark to “California Zephyr,” a kick of upbeat country-pop for “All In One” and “These Roads Don’t Move,” while Farrar is the fatalist, breathing heavy throughout “Big Sur,” the blues-funded “Final Horrors” and the simple acoustic plea of “San Francisco.”
Excellent musical/literary fusion
Everyone of course remembers Ben Gibbards last side project, The Postal Service, and its important to note right off the bat, potentially to the dismay of a few, this album is nothing like that album at all. What it is however is excellent. The tracks on this album stands up on their own musically - a sort of mellow folk, country, blues hybrid - and take on a whole other level when added to the descriptive, sweeping, dramatic lyrics. The fact that the lyrics are all from a Kerouac novel, which to an uninformed listner is irrelevant (unless you worship the book Big Sur you would have no idea what Gibbard and Farrar were doing), to me makes this collection of songs all the more poignant, interesting and complex - and creates a reason to listen to them in sequence to get some sort of story out of the album as a whole. Kerouac fans will not be disappointed. 5 stars. Love it!
Applaud the vision
Some reviewers have missed the entire point of the album. The fact that Kerouac was a beat poet and jazz is associated with beat and this is more a Folk/Americana hybrid isn't really important. It's the soundtrack to a documentary about Kerouac and how he had hoped that a trip to Big Sur would be his salvation and allow him to get his life in order but it didn't really work out that way but he did get perhaps his greatest novel out of the experience. It goes on to detail how he influenced generations of artists.
I am a fan of both Gibbard (in all his projects) and occassionally Jay Farrar, so I was very hopeful about this album. Though the duo create an interesting and overall pleasant album, it does poorly in reflecting the spirit of Jack Kerouac. Kerouac, you must remember, was a diehard bebop and jazz fan and, arguably, the founder of the beat generation. For Gibbard and Farrar to construct an essentially country album around Kerouac seemed a bit strange, especially considering most of the tunes are mid/slow-tempo. Overall, the album itself is solid, not amazing. Definitely not as good as most DCFC, the Postal Service, Uncle Tupelo, and/or Son Volt material.
Born: December 26, 1966 in Belleville, IL
Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s