What: Son Volt, with Anders Parker

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, doors open at 7 p.m.

Where: Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Drive, Bend

Cost: Sold out

Contact: volcanictheatrepub.com or 541-323-1881

Jay Farrar is ready to rock again.

The singer-songwriter, leader and only constant member of alt-country favorite Son Volt guided his band in a more subdued direction on its last couple albums, 2009’s “American Central Dust” and 2014’s “Honky Tonk.” In particular, the latter record found Farrar taking influence from old-school country and the Bakersfield sound.

“The last couple Son Volt records, I just played acoustic guitar on those last two recordings,” Farrar said recently from a tour stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “It just felt like the pendulum was swinging in the direction of playing more electric guitar.”

The band’s eighth studio album “Notes of Blue,” released in February, is another pseudo-genre exercise similar to “Honky Tonk,” with Farrar looking back to old blues artists for inspiration. And while the album does make room for gentler moments, many songs find Farrar at his most raucous since Son Volt’s 1995 debut, “Trace” — or even since Uncle Tupelo, the genre-defining cow-punk group that also introduced the world to Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy.

Farrar and the current lineup of Son Volt — keyboardist/pedal steel player Mark Spencer, bassist Andrew DuPlantis, guitarist Chris Frame and drummer Mark Patterson — have been keeping the energy high on tour as well. The band has been playing about half the songs on “Notes of Blue,” Farrar said, and the more rocking material has inspired the group to dig deep into the Son Volt and even Uncle Tupelo catalogs. After hitting the East Coast and Midwest earlier this year, the band is on its West Coast leg and will return to Bend for the first time since 2013 to play Volcanic Theatre Pub on Thursday.

“Normally we do one or two (Uncle Tupelo songs); this time we’re kind of alternating between three or four, so we pulled out a few more this time around,” Farrar said. “The emphasis of the set overall is more on the up-tempo, electric songs, and so I just felt like Uncle Tupelo songs fit in context pretty well.”

In fact, Farrar has been looking to the past quite a bit, it would seem. He even dug out the amplifier featured on the cover of “Trace” to record “Notes of Blue.”

“It’s an old Webster Chicago amplifier,” he said. “I just felt like it had the right aesthetic for this group of songs.”

Farrar also explored fingerpicking on “Notes of Blue” more extensively than on any previous Son Volt release, which isn’t as contradictory as it might seem (he fingerpicks an electric guitar on “Cherokee St.,” a nod to ZZ Top).

“I played pedal steel guitar the last couple years in a cover band, and that gave me the experience to give it a go and do more fingerpicking,” Farrar said. “That fit right in with some of the alternate tunings I was learning from some of these guys that I looked upon as heroes and icons — guys like (Mississippi) Fred McDowell, Skip James and Nick Drake.”

British folk singer Drake, known for his somber melodies and introspective writing, is a far cry from James or McDowell’s dark country and Delta blues. Initially, Farrar felt the same way — the record started out as two separate projects. Songs such as album opener “Promise the World” retain some of that folkier, Drake-esque feel.

“Ultimately, I just felt like there was a commonality there, a common aesthetic,” Farrar said. “It’s all folk music in the end. Again, the common thread of fingerpicking method guitar and the alternate tunings, it just all seemed to fit in the same context to make this record.”

Singer-songwriter Anders Parker, Farrar’s partner in side project Gob Iron, is opening for the band at six West Coast dates, including Bend. Farrar has hardly rested on his laurels since bringing Son Volt back in 2005 after a six-year hiatus, releasing Gob Iron’s “Death Songs For the Living” in 2006; a record with Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard in 2009 (“One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur”); and the Woody Guthrie tribute “New Multitudes” (with Parker, Jim James and Will Johnson) in 2012. He also scored the indie film “The Slaughter Rule” in 2002, and released a handful of solo EPs during Son Volt’s hiatus.

“It really just comes down to the songwriting,” Farrar said of his multiple side projects. “I guess I’m just trying to follow wherever the inspiration goes, and often that means trying to stay challenged and trying to not be complacent just doing the same thing over and over. So often that will mean doing a side project like Gob Iron, or working with Ben Gibbard, or working with Anders and Will Johnson and Jim James on ‘New Multitudes.’ Doing those side projects has been great; it’s rewarding and enlightening all at the same time. I hope to do more of that.”

And Farrar’s most famous collaborator recently re-entered his life. Uncle Tupelo, which formed in the mid-’80s and centered around Farrar and Tweedy’s songwriting, released four albums before its leaders’ acrimonious split in 1994, including 1990’s “No Depression,” named for the band’s cover of a Carter Family song. The phrase would eventually become synonymous with the alt-country scene, and was used as the name of a magazine that still exists today.

Following Uncle Tupelo’s split, Tweedy recruited most of the band’s touring lineup to form Wilco, while Farrar teamed with former Tupelo drummer Mike Heidorn and brothers Jim and Dave Boquist to form the first lineup of Son Volt. The two bands released their debut albums in the same year, but have followed much different career trajectories: Wilco remains an indie-rock star, while Son Volt has settled into cult status.

Farrar and Tweedy have kept their distance over the years. But all that changed with an email from Farrar.

“That was good. I had come across some unreleased Uncle Tupelo stuff that — maybe one or two of the songs had seen the light of day,” Farrar said. “I felt like it was a quality recording that represented the band during a time period in between ‘No Depression’ and the release of (1991 album) ‘Still Feel Gone,’ so it was very representative of what the band was doing — writing a lot of new songs and just playing them live in the studio. At some point, maybe that will see the light of day.”

Of course, that raises the question: What about a full-fledged musical reunion between Farrar and Tweedy?

“You know, there’s always a chance of just about anything,” Farrar said. “I’d never say never, but I’m sure we all have our own things to do. So we’ll see.”

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