Jay Farrar is nothing if not consistent.
You see, I was/am a huge fan of Uncle Tupelo, the St. Louis-based alt-country combo Farrar shared with Jeff Tweedy (now of Wilco) until 1994. And I quite liked Farrar’s first few post-Tupelo albums, recorded and released by his new band, Son Volt.
There’s no question that the band’s 1995 debut, “Trace,” is a roots-rock masterpiece, and its lead track, “Windfall,” is one of the best songs you’ll ever hear.
In the years since 1998’s fine “Wide Swing Tremolo” album, though, Farrar and I have grown apart. I’d like to think the cause was his reliance on rehashed melodies, or his affinity for labored Americana-apocalypse lyrical themes. Truth is, my tastes have changed, and Farrar has stayed the same.
To his credit, the man has stretched a little bit in recent years. He and Anders Parker reworked folk songs and called themselves Gob Iron. He recently paired with Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard to produce a soundtrack for a documentary about Jack Kerouac. And he’s reportedly working with an all-star cast of twang-rockers on an album of songs featuring unused Woody Guthrie lyrics.
But listening to Son Volt’s 2009 album, “American Central Dust,” is like wrapping yourself in an old flannel blanket, with Farrar’s distinctive voice exuding its usual, natural warmth. It’s a solid, reliable and consistent record, and that’s what Jay Farrar does best.
Son Volt, with Sera Cahoone ; 8 p.m. Monday, doors open 7 p.m.; $18 plus service charges in advance, $20 at the door. Advance tickets available at Ranch Records (541-389-6116) in Bend and through Ticketswest at www .ticketswest.com, 800-992-8499, and the Safeway at 642 N.E. Third St., in Bend; Domino Room, 51 N.W. Greenwood Ave., Bend; www.randompresents.com.
— Ben Salmon