In some circles, Jay Farrar (Uncle Tupelo/Son Volt) is regarded as a living legend and a father of what some people took to dubbing alt-country; a movement that featured much of the instrumentation of classic country music but left behind the high-production of the Nashville-dominated pop country and took on more artistic and sophisticated subject matter.
On Saturday night I witnessed Farrar with the 2007 version of Son Volt. He has now managed to put together an exceptional new version of Son Volt (a.k.a, SV 2.0) which included bassist Andrew Duplanits, drummer Dave Bryson, keyboardist Derry De Borja and newcomer and standout touring guitarist Chris Masterson.
The crowd at the Potawatomi Stage seemed a bit under the heat at first, but came alive after the band broke into Satellite (from The Search) .. Those fans that came to see the early version of Son Volt (v1.0) were in for a surprise. Although their sound has stayed true to the original format, the band hardly made their way through the early Son Volt catalog. Jay and the boys managed to start out heavy from their latest release and Okemah and the Melody of Riot dealing a hot and sweaty Summerfest crowd electrifying versions Jet Pilot, Picture, The Search.
Some of the set-list “stand outs” were the new SV take on Voodoo Candle (solo Farrar), Methamphetamine, Highways & Cigarettes, the unexpected cover of 2000 Light Years From Home (Rolling Stones) and a blistering version of Afterglow. After the set, the band left the stage for about 10 minutes and headed back out for an encore laying down Windfall, which has now become reliable crowd sing-a-long. The band then moved into two of the night’s only Uncle Tupelo songs; Life Worth Livin’ done with reggae overtones and an intense but expected Chickamauga. Overall Son Volt put on a good show and was able to display this new, strong lineup. I look forward to catching them again and so should you. Be sure to check out The Search (March 2007), Transmit Sounds Records/Legacy Recordings.