Jay Farrar
Sebastopol Artemis http://www.tinymixtapes.com//sites/default/files/arton5242_0.jpg

[Artemis; 2001]

Rating: 4/5 4 / 5 (0)

Styles: alt country, singer/songwriter
Others: Jay Farrar is a journeyman of sorts. Never staying in one place for too long, Jay has estranged many relationships along the way, broken several hearts, and jumped from numerous record labels. He wa


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Jay Farrar is a journeyman of sorts. Never staying in one place for too long, Jay has estranged many relationships along the way, broken several hearts, and jumped from numerous record labels. He was one of the key components in the seminal band Uncle Tupelo before bowing out to pursue loftier goals. His most recent leap finds him parting the ways with Son Volt, and striking it on his own. During the process Warner Brothers decided to drop him in the midst of his first solo record before he was picked by Artemis Records to finish the rest of his production. With his first work Jay has enlisted the help of several friends including Kelly Joe Phelps, his brother, Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster, the Flaming Lip’s Steve Drozd, and Gillian Welch.

The first track, “Feel Free” sets the record off with a laid back feel of lo-fi drums and soft lyrics flowing over whimsical, but potent lyrics. "The world is gonna burn up/ 4000 years from now/ if it doesn’t happen anytime soon/ breathing all the diesel fumes/ admire the concrete landscaping/ and doesn’t it feel free?" Several of the songs have the same feel of instrumentation with a yielding melodic sound mixing it up with several background sounds including the organ, saxophone and the accordion. The two definite key elements on each song are Jay Farrar’s (overwhelming) voice and his acoustic guitar. All of these songs stay within the slow to mid tempo range; nothing ever really changing. One of the standout singles from the album is “Vitamins”. The lyrics are a bit dark and angry, reminiscent of Son Volt albums. "Set a course for the unknown/ stacks of change throw into the tolls/ rules haven’t changed/ it’s just the same garbage war we’re sitting in/ really not mad at anyone/ you’re just mad at the world/ break it apart and take it down/ it’s mad at the world". All of these songs flow well together constructing a nice staple for alt-country fans to feast on.

Jay Farrar does a fine job of separating himself from past projects and bringing a respectable name to his first solo album. Sebastopol demonstrates a talent that has a bright future as a solo artist if he wishes. Jay is currently working with past members of Uncle Tupelo in order to put out an anthology for a soon to be issued pressing. His band, Son Volt, is rumored to be still in his plans. However, if Jay is able to produce this type of output consistently, it might be time to strike it on his own. Son Volt has run its course, producing solid but predictable albums. With a new family, Jay would be wise to cut out the other mouths he would be forced to feed in the band and continue his solo efforts.

1. Feel Free
2. Clear Day Thunder
3. Voodoo Candle
4. Barstow
5. Damn Shame
6. Damaged Son
7. Prelude (Make It Alright)
8. Dead Promises 
9. Feed Kill Chain
10. Make It Alright
11. Fortissimo Wah
12. Drain 
13. Different Eyes
14. Outside the Door
15. Equilibrium
16. Direction
17. Vitamins

 

1. Feel Free
2. Clear Day Thunder
3. Voodoo Candle
4. Barstow
5. Damn Shame
6. Damaged Son
7. Prelude (Make It Alright)
8. Dead Promises
9. Feed Kill Chain
10. Make It Alright
11. Fortissimo Wah
12. Drain
13. Different Eyes
14. Outside the Door
15. Equilibrium
16. Direction
17. Vitamins