One of the most influential bands of the 90’s alternative-country movement, Son Volt, are back and better than ever. The LP, Notes of Blue, is the band’s first since 2013, made up of 10 blues galvanised tracks, inspired by a glorious mix of Skip James and English acoustic guitarist Nick Drake. Having grown up listening to similar artists, I found this LP very suited and refreshing to my tastebuds amongst all the heavy modern trap music crammed into Spotify playlists.
Notes of Blue is a much cleaner and light LP compared to the 2013 album Honkey Tonk, (strangely not very suited to an actual honky tonk). There is still an age old emphasis on electric guitar and sweet steely riffs, also signs of aging in the band, they are becoming more comfortable and relaxed. At live shows, songs such as “Cherokee Street Girl” and “Lost Souls” would be highly appropriate to get people movin’, but overall this extroverted/ introverted album should be kept in a safe place to rip out during a long solo car ride. Also included are sweet acoustic established tunes such as “The Storm”, which was by far my favourite song (I swear every song titled “The Storm” is a total tune). Throughout the album, there are also elements of lead Jay Farrar’s earlier band, Uncle Tupelo’s, sound as the album progresses.
Notes of Blue, just like many other compositions by Jay Farrar and co. are faithfully made for the pleasure of their avid fans, they don’t turn in a ridiculously new direction every time something doesn’t make the charts, but instead stay true to themselves and the slowly aging fan base. Farrar and his band are all extremely experienced, engaging and entertaining musicians, constantly imparting wonderful contributions to the blues, alt-country scene.
Review Score: 7 out of 10.
Notes of Blue is out now.