Okemah and the Melody of Riot
After six years, two solo albums and a gaggle of EPs and live discs, Jay Farrar has finally dusted off the Son Volt name and delivered his most passionate album in years. Following an abortive reunion with his original band mates, Farrar went into the studio with a new group of sidemen and emerged with Okemah and the Melody of Riot. In the decade since Son Volt’s seminal debut, Trace, Farrar has charted a course away from the homey twang of his early effort in favor of more experimental, spacey songs alternating with straight-ahead rock rave-ups. For Okemah, Farrar set aside the sitar and tape loops in favor of guitar-driven rock. “Afterglow 61,” an ode to Highway 61 and the legendary American musicians who lived on it, recalls the throaty roar of earlier songs like “Route,” while songs such as “Gramophone” and “The World Waits For You,” showcase Farrar’s continual growth as a songwriter. As a bonus, the DualDisc release contains a documentary featuring live footage of the new lineup and a surprisingly chatty interview with the normally taciturn songwriter.