Spin (p.93) - "[F]or all the vintage touches, this is a deceptively funky band, as the sultry 'Down to the Wire' proves."
Dirty Linen (p.68) - "[Son Volt] offers a sparse, stream-of-consciousness look at heartbreak and the disintegration of the American dream."
Billboard (p.44) - "[T]he songs are still woven together with a feeling of comfort and familiarity."
Paste (magazine) (p.54) - "[T]he album showcases Farrar's excellent songwriting, which is comfortingly familiar....He is digging in rich and fertile ground."
Uncut (magazine) - "The songs themselves are thoughtful, ambling between folk, country and mid-paced roots-rock."
Son Volt: Jay Farrar (vocals, acoustic guitar, lap steel guitar, piano); Chris Masterson (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lap steel guitar, background vocals); Mark Spencer (acoustic guitar, acoustic slide guitar, lap steel guitar, pedal steel guitar, keyboards, background vocals); Andrew Duplanits (bass guitar, background vocals); Dave Bryson (drums, percussion).
Personnel: Andrew Duplantis (bass guitar, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Eleanor Whitmore (violin, viola).
Audio Mixers: Joe Henry; Ryan Freeland.
Audio Remasterer: Gavin Lurssen.
Recording information: St. Louis, MO; Tape Kitchen, Brooklyn, NY.
Jay Farrar resurrected Son Volt in 2005 after his solo career seemingly ran out of gas, and the two albums that followed--OKEMAH AND THE MELODY OF RIOT and THE SEARCH--were the best and most compelling music he'd made since Son Volt's masterful debut. AMERICAN CENTRAL DUST (2009), the third set from Son Volt 2.0, was released by the venerable independent roots music label Rounder Records. And while there's little telling if that decision was dictated by finance or aesthetics, the album sounds austere in a way its immediate predecessors did not. While their previous two outings found Farrar and his new bandmates edging into new musical territory while embracing a bigger studio sound, by comparison, AMERICAN CENTRAL DUST feels more organic and intimate. Farrar still sounds thoroughly engaged as both a songwriter and performer, and his band--Chris Masterson on guitars, Mark Spencer on keyboards and steel guitars, Andrew DuPlantis on bass, and Dave Bryson on drums--is tight and sympathetic, finding just the right angle to approach this material. While the album doesn't have the feel of a step into new territory the way Son Volt's past two albums did, it does consolidate the group's old strengths and confirms Jay Farrar is still an artist worth caring about 20 years after Uncle Tupelo cut their first album.