All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

2

Son Volt: The Search Deluxe Reissue

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
The reissue of Son Volt's The Search on both CD and vinyl configurations ties up loose ends in the seminal Americana band's discography, but, more importantly, it documents Jay Farrar's earliest departure into variations on his fundamental style of writing and recording. In doing so, it reaffirms his status as one of our most insightful and articulate composers, both as leader of this band and as a solo artist.

Even though both rhythm and solo guitars remain notably dominant here, as on the title song, the prominence of keyboardist Derry deBorja's piano and organ, echoing mid-Sixties electric Bob Dylan on "Carnival Blues," add new colors to the sonic design of Son Volt here. Other risks of eclecticism pay off as well: the punchy soul horns on "The Picture," for instance, are a logical extension of Farrar's roots-oriented expeditions in the wake of his ground-breaking work with Uncle Tupelo (the group he co-led with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy), besides calling to mind the exalting arrangements fashioned by Allen Toussaint for The Band on Rock of Ages (Capitol, 1972).

The varied arrangements applied to material such as the gospel-inflected "Bleed The Line" also stretch Farrar's vocals in ways that allow him to sound less stoic and more human. As vivid as are the lyric images throughout (confirmed by the wise inclusion of the words in the enclosed booklet), the penetrating introspection of songs like "Satellite" are hardly so abstract as the cover images of this eye-opening artwork. Some of the other twenty-two song titles such as "Phosphate Skin" or "Exurbia, " "Action" and "Circadian Rhythm" stipulate Son Volt as a modern-day extension of the groundbreaking efforts of The Byrds and early Neil Young in the so-called 'alternative country' realm.

In addition to the regular compact disc release of 2007, vinyl and iTunes versions of The Search were also released, including eight additional tracks from the same recording sessions. Originally titled On Chant and Strum, this content is, interestingly, integrated for this reissue within the fourteen cuts of the album proper, thus necessitating the second discs in packages of compact disc and vinyl LP. The remastering enacted for this release restores some of the fidelity missing from earlier configurations. Equally importantly, numbers such as "Waking World" and "Coltrane Free" broaden the perspective on Farrar's entire body of work. At the same time, the simplicity of "Slow Hearse," abbreviated as it is, grounds the experimentation prior to its closing the collection.

For all intents and purposes, this deluxe package becomes a distinct piece of work by Son Volt. As such, its restoration of an out-of-print title into the marketplace transcends purely commercial terms, so its success (or not) on that front may well presage a similarly-conceived, expanded version of Okemah & The Melody of Riot (Legacy, 2005) (for which there's a wealth of varied content apart from its Record Store Day 2018 vinyl release).

Jay Farrar's prolific creative output, as an individual and bandleader, deserves the most comprehensive possible availability.

Track Listing: CD 1: The Search; Carnival Blues; Methamphetamine; Bleed The Line; L Train; Phosphate Skin; The Picture; Beacon Soul; Underground Dream; Exurbia; Adrenaline And Heresy. CD 2: Action; Circadian Rhythm; Bicycle Hotel; Houdini Punches; Acetone Angels; Satellite; Automatic Society; Waking World; Highways And Cigarettes; Coltrane Free; Slow Hearse.

Personnel: Jay Farrar: vocals, guitar, piano, bouzouki [electric]; Brad Rice: electric guitar, sitar;[electric], E-Bow, baritone guitar; Derry deBorja: piano, organ, keyboards, accordion; Andrew Duplantis: bass guitar, backing Vocals; Dave Bryson: drums, percussion.

Title: The Search Deluxe Reissue | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Transmit Sound

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Alive In The East? CD/LP/Track Review
Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Love Stone CD/LP/Track Review
Love Stone
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Empty Castles CD/LP/Track Review
Empty Castles
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Myths and Morals CD/LP/Track Review
Myths and Morals
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 22, 2018
Read The Sum Of My Pardon CD/LP/Track Review
The Sum Of My Pardon
by Jim Olin
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read "The Poetry of Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review The Poetry of Jazz
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 20, 2018
Read "Happy Juice" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Juice
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 4, 2017
Read "Cochonnerie" CD/LP/Track Review Cochonnerie
by John Sharpe
Published: November 24, 2017
Read "Random Acts of Order" CD/LP/Track Review Random Acts of Order
by John Sharpe
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Before Dawn" CD/LP/Track Review Before Dawn
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 30, 2018
Read "Moksha" CD/LP/Track Review Moksha
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 28, 2018