When he fronted Uncle Tupelo with Jeff Tweedy, Jay Farrar was the poetic counterpoint to Tweedy’s punk rocker persona and the contrast made for a balance that’s always seemed lacking in Son Volt. And while Farrar has managed to pull out a couple of very memorable songs on every Son Volt disc, on the whole, they’ve always seemed to be missing some crucial element. But then, Uncle Tupelo’s “Anodyne” would be a pretty tough record for anyone to follow.
Now, after a string of solo
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“Why You Been Gone So Long”
OK, so it’s been almost one year to the day since Eleven Hundred Springs released “Bandwagon” on Palo Duro Records – their biggest label release to date. That seems like as good a time as any for a review that’s glaringly missing from these pages.
While Eleven Hundred Springs’ records have never really conveyed the sheer twangy exuberance of their live shows, “Bandwagon” successfully straddles the line between the hard electric country sound of the band on stage and the mellower acoustic sound they tend to employ in the studio.
Over the last twenty or so years, Robert Earl Keen has become the quintessential Texas singer songwriter. He’s honed his ability to weave a quirky story with familiar oddball characters and put it to a catchy tune that frequently manages to work its way into the state’s larger musical tapestry.
Think “The Road Goes On Forever” or “Merry Christmas From The Family”. They’re both practically anthems in these parts. And they both also feature a certain kind of Texas-centric atmosphere that he’s made into a trademark of sorts.