Reissue Tuesday : Son Volt’s The Search


Son Volt 2.0 receives a reissue
By Tim Craig

“Would you take me back North Carolina? / Would you take me back Arkansas?”
Jay Farrar’s longing to be taken back to Southern roots rings true on “Methamphetamine,” the third track on the reissued Son Volt release The Search, out on April 6 on Transmit Sound.

It must be tough to be Farrar, who has faithfully taken up the cross of the alt-Country / No Depression / y’allternative music birthed with Jeff Tweedy in the cult band Uncle Tupelo. Tweedy has since boldly explored the outer reaches of rock with his post-Tupelo band, Wilco. Farrar has pretty faithfully mined the alt-country vein — for better or worse — throughout Son Volt’s 23-year career.

The Search, which dropped pretty much in the middle of that 23-year span in 2007, was originally released as a 14-track album. The deluxe reissue is a 22-song double-vinyl (also reissued on CD and digital), whose track listing mirrors a special edition vinyl called “On Chant and Strum.”

The album has all of the Son Volt elements. The honky tonk twang of guitar, pedal steel, steady bass and drums mix with Farrar’s distinctive voice and socially left lyrics to create a sonic canvas that paints modern interpretations of Dorthea Lange photographs.

While not as good as the band’s debut Trace (1995), The Search was Farrar and friends’ attempt to be taken back to their roots and bring them forward. Billboard called the record “Son Volt 2.0,” and there are plenty of good sounds to search and find here.

With Vinylthon / Record Store Day around the corner on April 21, Son Volt is also offering a limited edition companion vinyl called the Ballymeana ep. The 10-inch features unreleased tracks from 2017’s Notes of Blue, as well as an alternate take from American Central Dust (2009).

Ballymeana is limited to 1,500 copies and, if you don’t want to risk missing it from your local record store can be ordered in a package with the reissue of The Search through the band’s website.

Notable Friday, April 13 reissues: U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind, Pop, and the Wide Awake in America ep.