As Son Volt begins early work on its fifth album, group leader Jay Farrar is planning to release a collection of mostly traditional songs he cut with former Varnaline singer Anders Parker in the fall,
As Son Volt begins early work on its fifth album, group leader Jay Farrar is planning to release a collection of mostly traditional songs he cut with former Varnaline singer Anders Parker in the fall, titled "Gob Iron."
Featuring at least one Stanley Brothers song, as well as "Hills of Mexico," a traditional often associated with Woody Guthrie, "Gob Iron" (British slang for harmonica) coalesced just prior to the recording of Son Volt's 2005 album "Okemah and the Melody of Riot."
"[Anders] was going to play multi-instrumental things on the last Son Volt record, and we had a couple days before that recording started and we did this collaboration that basically was traditional songs kind of reworked," Farrar tells Billboard.com. "Sometimes we rewrote lyrics; sometimes we just put that to an old melody, or rewrote a melody with old lyrics."
While no firm details have been set, Farrar says that "Gob Iron" will most likely be released by Legacy and credited to Jay Farrar and Anders Parker.
Meanwhile, Farrar and Son Volt are in St. Louis, where for the past week they've been working up songs for the band's fifth album, the second to feature the revamped, all-new line-up Farrar introduced last year. Among the tracks being worked on are "Methamphetamine" and "Dogs of Triumph."
"We're just doing live takes and just kind of getting ambient room sounds," he says, noting that on one track the band experimented with an electric sitar. Other plans call for the use of a B-bender guitar: "[Late Byrds guitarist] Clarence White used to play one," says Farrar. "There's a mechanism in it that bends all the strings and gives you a pedal steel sound. [Son Volt guitarist] Brad Rice will be playing it."
In the meantime, Transmit Sound/Legacy on May 23 will release the concert DVD "Live: 6 String Belief," filmed in September at the Orange Peel in Asheville, N.C. Augmented with interview footage with Farrar, the DVD spans his tenures with Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt, and also includes a cover of the Clash-associated "Armagideon Time," which has since fallen off Son Volt's set list.
"I really wanted to get back to playing electric guitar and being in a band, and regaining that feeling that you get, that sense of camaraderie that goes along with it," Farrar says of his revival of Son Volt.
The band launches a brief tour with Drive-By Truckers April 28 at the McDowell Mountain Music Fest in Scottsdale, A.Z.