Son Volt hit’s edgy alternative note


Lead singer Jay Farrar performing at Roots n Blues n BBQ in Stephens Lake Park.

Ethan Hayes

Son Volt is a band that soothes listeners and gives a refreshing take on alternative music. Its rock and country instrumentals accompanied by lead singer Jay Farrar’s alleviating voice transports the audience to an easing nirvana.
Son Volts performance is deeply personal using both their music and Farrar’s stage presence. Farrar stays still on stage seemingly married to the microphone and the eyes of the audience. He wears sunglasses so as to focus the audience’s attention on the bands sound and the impact it has on the emotion of the venue, rather than his position as lead vocalist.
There’s something awfully therapeutic about Son Volt’s music.
When one goes to a concert they expect to be entertained at the very least. Son Volt, however, goes a step beyond that and gives the audience an immense spiritual healing in place of entertainment. There’s not much need for crowd involvement or stage antics as the songs played speak for themselves.
Take their song “Cherokee St.”
It mixes the shredding of an electric rock guitar with the spirit and vocal tone of a traditional grassroots country track to create a new blend of music that entraps the audience in its authenticity.
Son Volts sound is consistent both live and recorded. Their alternative country-rock blend is brought to fruition through the specialized style of guitar playing from member Eric Heywood who plays the instrument in a horizontal fashion laid out on a table. Heywood uses a finely crafted metal piece along with a regular guitar pick to create and hold a chord with an echoing vibrato complementing Farrar’s voice.
That being said, both guitarist James Walbourne and drummer Mike Heidorn setup much of the musical foundation for the bands’ songs. Heidrons dramatic beats in the background and Walbourne’s maintenance of the melody really keep Son Volt acoustically concrete. Their performance at Roots N Blues could not have had more perfect timing. Playing their first song at the start of the sunset around 5:45 p.m. and finishing their final act at the beginning of dusk allowed the audience to take a journey not just visually but audibly. The vibrations from the stage speakers reverberated even in the regular viewing area, only adding to the chilling effect Son Volt already has on its fans. Son Volt is mystical and alluding from an initial hearing but after opening up you can expect to find a band that pierces mind, body, and soul.
Did you catch a show at Roots n Blues n BBQ? Let us know in the comments below.