Son Volt – American Central Dust

July 12, 2009

sonvoltLike that other band that emerged from the ashes of Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt’s latest release, American Central Dust, is mostly relaxed and laid back, so much so in this case that listeners may think they’re hearing a much more mild work than they actually are. Upon repeat listenings, however, the album starts to reveal its layers. It’s perhaps the best sounding Son Volt album I’ve heard, marked by superb musicianship, Jay Farrar’s marvelous country inflected vocals, all bound up in intelligent, sometimes surprising production. The band is very much in country rock mode here, sometimes delving into full on country, as on tracks like “Cocaine And Ashes” and “Dust Of Daylight.” There’s even a shot at writing a commemorative folk song, “Sultana,” about a Mississippi steamboat disaster that cost up to 1800 lives that was all but lost in history, having occurred close to Lincoln’s assassination. It’s one of the weaker tracks, but it’s an earnest attempt just the same. American Central Dust may not hit you with full force at first, but stay with it: It will. Standout cuts: “Dynamite,” “Down To The Wire,” “No Turning Back” and “Jukebox Of Steel.”


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