Son Volt

Son Volt is an American alternative rock and alternative country band, formed by Jay Farrar in 1994 after the breakup of Uncle Tupelo.

Son Volt
Son Volt playing at Wakarusa in 2005
Background information
OriginBelleville, IL, United States
GenresAlternative rock, alternative country, blues, Americana.
Years active1994–present
LabelsTransmit Sound/Legacy
Warner Bros. Nashville
Associated actsUncle Tupelo, Blood Oranges
WebsiteOfficial website
MembersJay Farrar
Andrew Duplantis
Jacob Edwards
Chris Frame
Mark Spencer
Past membersMike Heidorn
Dave Boquist
Jim Boquist
Eric Heywood
Brad Rice
Derry deBorja
Chris Masterson
Dave Bryson
Gary Hunt


The group formed after Farrar met Jim and Dave Boquist during the final Uncle Tupelo tour. Together with former Uncle Tupelo drummer Mike Heidorn, the band rehearsed and recorded in the Minneapolis area in late 1994. The group performed its first concert at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis on June 16, 1995. While half of the band was rooted in the Minneapolis area, Farrar and Heidorn lived in the St. Louis area, and the band used both cities as bases for its operations during the first couple of years.

Early albums

Son Volt's first album, Trace, met with critical acclaim and topped many "best-of" lists in 1995, despite not being a large commercial success. Two follow-up albums (1997's Straightaways and 1998's Wide Swing Tremolo) continued in the same vein. A Retrospective: 1995-2000, released in 2005, gathered highlights from this era, along with previously unreleased recordings.

Hiatus and return

Farrar announced a hiatus from Son Volt after their 1999 tour. Beginning in 2001, Jay Farrar released several solo efforts that postponed further releases from Son Volt. Farrar reformed with the original members of Son Volt to record a song for a tribute album for Alejandro Escovedo. The sessions reportedly went so well that Farrar and the other band members intended to record once again in the autumn of 2004. Just prior to the sessions, however, Farrar and the other band members abruptly ended negotiations.[1] Farrar formed a new version of the band with a different line-up and released an album on Transmit Sound/Sony Legacy, Okemah and the Melody of Riot,[2] in 2005. 2006 saw the release of a live DVD, Six String Belief, which was recorded at The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC. In 2007 the band released a studio album called The Search. American Central Dust followed, released by Rounder Records on July 7, 2009. Honky Tonk was released March 5, 2013 also by Rounder Records. A large scale tour followed the release of the album.[3] On February 17, 2017, the band released Notes of Blue on Farrar's label, Transmit Sound.

The band's ninth studio album, Union, was released on March 28, 2019 on Farrar's Transmit Music label and distributed by Thirty Tigers Records. [4]

Musical style

Son Volt's music ranges from quiet folk/country ballads reminiscent of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, to barhouse rockers in the spirit of Neil Young with Crazy Horse.[5] Reviews refer to the band as alternative country pioneers, a "staple in the ALT-Country Scene" or "a cult favorite", with their music "spanning a few musical niches", but based in Americana.[6][7][8]


Current members[9]

Former members

  • Mike Heidorn (drums), formerly of Uncle Tupelo (Original member of Son Volt)
  • Dave Boquist (banjo, fiddle, guitar, lap steel) (Original member of Son Volt)
  • Jim Boquist (bass guitar, backing vocals) (Original member of Son Volt)
  • Eric Heywood (mandolin, pedal steel)
  • Brad Rice (guitar on Okemah and the Melody of Riot, The Search)
  • Derry deBorja (keyboards on The Search)
  • Chris Masterson (guitar on American Central Dust)
  • Gary Hunt (guitar, mandolin, steel guitar on Honky Tonk)
  • Dave Bryson (drums on Okemah and the Melody of Riot, The Search, American Central Dust, Honky Tonk)
  • Jason Kardong (pedal steel on Notes of Blue)
  • Jacob Edwards (drums on Notes of Blue)



Date Album US UK In Label
1995 Trace 166 - Warner Bros.
1997 Straightaways 44 - Warner Bros.
1998 Wide Swing Tremolo 93 - Warner Bros.
2005 Okemah and the Melody of Riot 89 - Transmit Sounds
2007 The Search 81 - Transmit Sounds
2009 American Central Dust 44 - Rounder Records
2013 Honky Tonk 67 - Rounder Records
2017 Notes of Blue - - Thirty Tigers Records
2019 Union - 5 Thirty Tigers Records




  1. Jake Brown. "Son Volt Reforms and Returns to the Studio". Glorious Noise. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  2. Author Interviews. "Son Volt Is Back: 'Okemah and the Melody of Riot' : World Cafe". NPR. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  3. "Official Son Volt site". Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  5. Stewart, M (2017)."Alt-Country Pioneers Son Volt Hit Stride at D.C.’s 9:30 Club"Live Music Daily
  6. Remz, J.B (2019). "Son Volt does it with music",Country Standard Time
  7. Armstrong, C (2019). "Son Volt, ‘Reality Winner’ [Exclusive Premiere]", the Boot
  8. Obenschain, P (2019). "REMINDER Don’t Miss Son Volt w/ Old Salt Union | TONIGHT @ The Basement East",No Country for New Nashville]
  9. Brock Thiessen. "Son Volt Return with New Album 'Notes of Blue'". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2016-11-25.
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