This is probably the biggest band about whom I’ve written a “From the Vaults”, but I just picked up the deluxe edition of their debut album, Trace, and realized why I remembered the album in the first place.
First, some background info on Son Volt. Illinois act Uncle Tupelo were an alt-country act from before the genre even really existed. They broke up in 1994 due to an icy relationship between their two main songwriters, Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy. Tweedy went on to form Wilco, leaving Jay Farrar to form Son Volt.
Trace was released in September 1995 and even before the release of the album, Farrar had realized he was recording/releasing some of the best music in his career. I remembered the album cover from my early teenage years (I was 16 in late 1995), but really didn’t remember which tracks I would have heard from the album.
Enter “Drown”. When this song came on, I immediately recalled how catchy the chorus was. The reason I probably couldn’t remember this song throughout the years was because it had the same title as a Smashing Pumpkins track, so if it was on a cassette (I recorded many volumes of 90 minute tapes from off the radio, trying not to record the same song twice), I may not have made the distinction between the two tracks while upgrading to mp3 in the late 90s.
Anyway, I am very glad I took an interest in sifting my way through this album. It reminds me of the better parts of Drive By Truckers and of course I already know and love Wilco and was familiar with Uncle Tupelo…