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American Central Dust


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Audio CD, July 7, 2009
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$11.88 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

After spearheading the alternative Country movement with his band Uncle Tupelo, Jay Farrar pursued his vision with Son Volt, who recorded three landmark albums in the '90s before the groundbreaking artist put the band on extended hiatus and cut three solo records. Now back with his third Son Volt album of the decade, Jay Farrar has delivered what may be his finest work yet. The album exhilaratingly carries on the tradition of the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Little Feat circa Sailin' Shoes, the Rolling Stones of Exile on Main Street and early R.E.M., with standouts like the exceptional 'Down To The Wire', 'Dynamite' and 'No Turning Back'. An epic lament for the heartland, American Central Dust is populated with readily recognizable characters, the most hopeful of them searching for love against a backdrop of rusted road signs and abandoned factories. Rarely does a musical work so powerfully capture the zeitgeist of its historical moment while also honoring the traditions of Rock 'N' Roll with such rawboned grace.

1. Dynamite
2. Down to the Wire
3. Roll On
4. Cocaine and Ashes
5. Dust of Daylight
6. When the Wheels Don't Move
7. No Turning Back
8. Pushed Too Far
9. Exiles
10. Sultana
11. Strength and Doubt
12. Jukebox of Steel

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 7, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rounder
  • ASIN: B0028X6KP6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,961 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Scott Smith on July 12, 2009
Format: Audio CD
After several listens, I am placing this record just after Straightaways in my "favorite Son Volt" list. Jay's songwriting is in top form, and they've stripped down the production a bit, which is not a bad thing in my book. My only wish is that they had one more growling rocker; however, the record is still excellent. All the comparisons with Wilco are pointless. Son Volt and Wilco are so far removed from each other now, if we didn't know Jay and Jeff were once in a band together, we wouldn't compare them at all. If you are a SV fan, or just like good rootsy music, don't hesitate and buy this one.
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Garbageman on July 9, 2009
Format: Audio CD
First, I'd pay Jay Farrar a dollar if he quit hanging out with Mark Spencer, a guy who oversaturates every song with unnecessarily bombastic guitar or steel and who pretty much ruined the entire "Live in Seattle" album with freight-train-volume theatrics. Despite having the chops, he flat-out doesn't understand the "less is more" concept when it comes to accompaniment in stark, fragile songs like these. I'd venture to say that this album would have sounded even more Nebraskan (in a good way) if not for his presence, which is pretty obvious if you've ever seen Spencer jam with Farrar onstage. By contrast though is the underrated drumming of Dave Bryson, a guy who makes songs out of skeletons and doesn't need to overplay a thing (but when he does, as in the super fills in "When the Wheels Don't Move", it makes the entire song shake with a forlorn funkiness).

Nonetheless, this here's the "Son Volt" you remember back in the Sigma Kappa days, jamming to "Drown" at the beer bust, thinking you stumbled on the best band in America at midnight at Rocky's Pub somewhere in a beer-soaked room with everyone talking and five people playing music that sounded like a history lesson set to scratchy library Folkways records. Listen to the depth in "Down to the Wire", "No Turning Back", and "Pushed Too Far", three of the best songs to come out of Jay in years, and you're certain you had a nightmare that he tried to "go global" with a bad horn section and doctrinaire lyrics like "war is profit and profit is war". Fact is, this music is the relaxed, direct urgency we'd expect from a guy who has always been comfortable in this landscape, whose desire to "see the world" in other forms would always land him right back here anyway. Jay in a spacesuit didn't mean much to me; Jay in overalls does it every time.

Bonus points for the vibey song "Jukebox of Steel", with bold imagery to boot. It's his best sounding song since "Gather".
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By thecthonian on August 8, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Son Volt's new album "American Central Dust" is a modern classic and could show Nashville a thing or two about how to play real country music. It says so much with so little, and further proves why Jay Farrar is a musical GENIUS. His band artfully portrays a somber but hopeful view of rural America, its highways, and its industry, and looks deep within themselves to sing about love and relationships. BTW, you won't hear any of the songs on the radio because Jay and company will not go to bed with Clear Channel to compromise the music and sell out.....Radio is afraid of bands like Son Volt.....

Give it a listen....Just Jay's voice, some crying guitar, some steel.....Minimal arrangements, no studio tricks.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brent N. Humphrey on August 11, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was at a life changing crossroads when I fist got Trace and quite frankly put as much faith in the words of Jay's first three son volt albums as I do the 3 main gosphels in the new testemant and that is how powerful those albums are. This is along the the lines of Straightaways and is very good. And even though he and jeff Tweedy were the driving forces behind Uncle Tupelo, you will never hear one critic utter the name of Jay Farrar or SonVolt. Shameful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jack Baker on April 2, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm beginning to think Jay Farrar has a spiritual kinship with Neil Young, who also waxes and wanes between his acoustic and electric moods. After the electric guitar driven Okemah and the Melody of Riot and the more experimental The Search, American Central Dust returns Farrar to the dusty highways and train tracks of Trace and Straightaways without sounding like a rehash of those albums. The lyrics on ACD are among some of Farrar's most accessible, given real life pathos by Farrar's gentle growl. Musically, ACD is mostly a jangle of acoustic guitars and subtle tasteful drums, permeated by tremolo-laden electric guitar and plaintive pedal steel. Some songs also feature touches of organ, accordion, violins, and violas.

The highlight of the CD for me was the piano driven "Cocaine and Ashes", written as a tribute to Keith Richards. It really captures the "seen it all, done it all" life of the Rolling Stones guitarist. All of the songs are great though, from the ebullient "Dynamite" to the driving "When the Wheels Don't Move" to the dirge like "Sultana" (referencing the steamboat which suffered a boiler explosion in 1865, the worst maritime disaster in US history). Once again Farrar reveals himself to be one of America's most underrated songwriters. An album of his is like reading a well-polished collection of short stories.
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