Retrospective: 1995-2005

Son Volt

It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Son Volt released its instant-classic debut, Trace. If you’re not familiar with the seminal alt-country band and its creative force, Jay Farrar, this single-disc retrospective is a great place to start. The CD deftly straddles the line between a “best-of” and an “odds-’n’-sods,” featuring nine album tracks, six rarities previously only available on promo EPs and compilations, and five unreleased tracks. While Farrar has always been the primary songwriter of the band, Son Volt wouldn’t have been the same without the contributions of the Boquist brothers, Jim (bass, background vocals) and Dave (guitar, fiddle, banjo, lap steel and Dobro) through 2001, before Farrar embarked on a solo career. “Windfall,” the opening track on Trace and an unforgettable paean to the soothing properties of a convertible and an open road, is the ultimate showcase for their formidable skills. Although Farrar has reconvened Son Volt with a new lineup, a lyric from “Route” (Trace) serves as the group’s true epitaph—“We’re all living proof nothing lasts.”