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The Search (Deluxe Version)

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iTunes Review

Jay Farrar “reformed” Son Volt after several solo outings, and those quotes are appropriate first and foremost because, Farrar aside, there isn’t an original member to be found. Three of the four gentlemen here also recorded the last Son Volt album, 2005’s Okemah and the Melody of Riot, so perhaps a new consistency is forming. It would be welcomed, since left to his own devices, Farrar too often becomes hypnotized by the sound of his own open tunings and loses the song in the process. Here, working with a functioning rhythm section that can kick it up a gear means tunes such as “Satellite,” “Automatic Society“ and the title track fall neatly into Rolling Stones-post Exile on Main Street guitar-heavy country-rock, and stay focused on delivering the cathartic payoff. “The Picture” with its Stax-like horns climax, and “Methamphetamine” with its majestic pedal steel overriding the acoustic guitars and thick harmonies, make for the album’s most realized tunes. Though it’s Farrar’s lonesome streak that fuels his vocal appeal, it’s his convivial relationship with his fellow bandmates that translate his ideas into greatness.

Customer Reviews

Thoroughly mediocre album

It's maybe slightly better than the stuff he's done since Trace. But this album has 22 songs and nothing really happens in the course of those 22 songs. The first time I heard Still Be Around, the hair on my neck literally stood up. Nothing on this album comes even remotely close to that. Nothing on this album gave me the "holy Sh**, I want to play that again" feeling. Not to say that anything here is bad, its all pretty good. But there just isn't anything special about it. Its like Jay has learned how to write the standard alt-country song, with modern touches here and there and just keeps to that formula. Formulaic writing can work for people like Foggerty, Keith Richards, etc. but Jay doesn't really have that somethign special to write formulaic songs and have them be great. If I had to sum this album up in one sentence it would be: If it comes up on shuffle, I probably won't skip the song, but I probably won't ever say "hey, I think I should really listen to The Search" again.

Search and ye shall find...

No need to search any further....Jay Farrar delivers again in his follow-up to “Okemah and The Melody of Riot.” The first track, "Slow Hearse" is a Neil Young-like ballad that serves as a nice prelude but is not indicative of the other tracks on the "record." "The Search" picks up speed with "The Picture" which introduces a horn section that rings of Van Morrison. "Methamphetamine" is buried deep in the album but it is definitely one of the album’s jewels and one of Jay Farrar's best songs to date. Lyrically, the album is less politically charged than Okemah. Musically, it’s a nice departure from some of the drone-rock sound of prior work. I anticipate these songs really coming to life when the band takes these songs on the road in the spring!


A wonderful piece of work. Start to finish, this is the most satisfying record I've heard in years. The line, "We'll know when we get there If we'll find mercy." speaks directly to the age we live in. And Methamphetime will move you greatly. Farrar at his best.


Formed: 1994 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

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

Led by vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Jay Farrar, Son Volt became one of the leading bands in the alternative country community, attracting critical praise and an audience that was loyal if not always large. Jay Farrar first made an impression on music fans as the co-founder, with Jeff Tweedy, of seminal alt-country group Uncle Tupelo. After touring in support of their 1993 masterpiece Anodyne, Uncle Tupelo split up over long-simmering creative differences between Farrar and Tweedy. Tweedy recruited...
Full Bio
The Search (Deluxe Version), Son Volt
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