(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- Americana band Son Volt is coming to South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 at 7:30pm. Founded by songwriter and vocalist Jay Farrar, formerly of Uncle Tulepo, Son Volt is an Americana band that also infuses Folk, Country, Blues and Soul into their sound. The opening artist is Jesse Farrar of Old Salt Union. Jesse is Jay’s nephew.
Dubbed “a key architect of Americana,” by Americana UK, Farrar has contributed greatly to the genre during his time in each band. Some of Son Volt’s discography consists of issue-oriented cautionary tales and politically charged calls to action. The group marked their 25th anniversary in 2020, while in lockdown due to the pandemic. Farrar took that time of isolation as an opportunity for reflection and music making. The result of that musing is Electro Melodier, the band’s 10th studio album. It was released in July 2021.
2020 was not quite what Jay Farrar was expecting for the 25th anniversary of Son Volt, the band he started in 1995 after leaving the seminal group Uncle Tupelo, whose No Depression album helped define the Alt-Country and Americana genre. The group had just finished an Outlaw Country Cruise when the pandemic hit and sent them into their homes on lockdown.
Instead of a triumphant tour marking the illustrious milestone, Farrar was forced indoors, and his “Reverie” during that time helped define Electro Melodier, Son Volt’s 10th studio album. The title, taken from the names of two vintage amplifiers from the late 40s and early 50s, also describes the disc’s unique blend of Folk, Country, Blues, Soul and Rock – an electric troubadour with melodies that hit and stick. Social protest songs like “Living in the U.S.A.” and “The Globe,” the former about the promises of this nation gone wrong, the latter referencing the street protests accompanying the Black Lives Matter movement, exist side by side with odes to long-term relationships (specifically his 25-year marriage) in “Diamonds and Cigarettes” and “Lucky Ones.”
Accompanied by the current Son Volt line up—keyboardist/steel guitarist Mark Spencer, bassist Andrew Duplantis, guitarist Chris Frame and drummer Mark Patterson—Farrar takes a slight turn from 2019’s politically pointed Union to a series of songs that asks questions rather than demanding answers.
“I had more time to devote to and concentrate on the writing,” says Farrar about his enforced quarantine. “We were fortunate in that we had just released Union and toured the country, so we were off cycle. It was still a rough year, but as a songwriter, I was able to make the most of it.”
He continues: “I wanted to concentrate on the melodies which got me into music in the first place,” says Farrar. “I wanted politics to take a back seat this time, but it always seems to find a way back in there.”
Still based in St. Louis, Farrar was born in Belleville, Illinois, where he formed Uncle Tupelo with his high school classmate Jeff Tweedy.
Jesse Farrar is the primary vocalist and bassist for Old Salt Union, a Bluegrass Americana string band. Farrar brings an Alternative Rock spirit as well as his unique formative experiences as a Hip Hop producer and Bass player. Son Volt founder and frontman Jay Farrar is Jesse’s uncle.
Tickets go on sale for members beginning Monday, September 20 at noon and the public on Friday, September 24 at noon. Prices range from $34-$44. Tickets will be available for purchase online. South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) is located at One SOPAC Way in South Orange, New Jersey.
Since 2006, SOPAC has been serving as a premier performing arts center in the region. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences for diverse audiences in an intimate, inviting environment. The arts center hosts a variety of live performances, community events and education programs for all ages. SOPAC is home for Seton Hall University Arts Council’s performances, including the Classical Concert Series, Jazz ‘N the Hall performances and Seton Hall University Theatre productions.
SOPAC programs are made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.