Son Volt Brings “Promise” and Blue Notes to The Ark

. March 30, 2017.
Son Volt comes to the Ark on Sunday, April 2
Son Volt comes to the Ark on Sunday, April 2

Jay Farrar sings about light after darkness on Son Volt’s new song “Promise the World,” fusing melody and comforting intonation to the stark state of affairs we may find ourselves facing from time to time.  By the third chorus, the listener feels a stealing of resolve. Later, within another song where we feel our back is against the wall, we acknowledge that there’s “…darkness at our doorstep,” though the song implores us to “keep our feet on the ground…”

What better time for a soothing record like “Notes of Blue?” And, what better time for Son Volt to come to Ann Arbor?

With all the tension, dread, and/or anger that seems to be dominating the op-eds and front pages when it comes to our national news, this record entered the scene at a perfect point as the whole country soul searches with a not so quiet panic. “Notes of Blue” restores a bit of, well, hope! It’s a strangely optimistic album, despite the urgent stakes it addresses in the lyrics.

The salve of blues music is at its most effective during moments of our lives when we are taking stock, ruminating, weighing options and recalibrating our whole mindset. It draws power away from various demons and reinforces itself against whatever kind of trouble. And what’s so profound about “Notes of Blue” is that it’s the most radiant of dark albums. Darkness pervades the periphery of several tracks like a constant villain in the album’s narrative, and yet the music, the melodies, the mightiness of the rock-n-roll arrangements, nurtures new muscles for your defense against it.

Pedal steel guitar glides across the pace-slowing, acoustic “Promise The World,” with its pensive violins and strolling twangs accompanying Farrar’s deliberate,delicate verses.  A more forceful backbeat propels “Back Against The Wall,” a modest anthem that could gird the spirit of anyone with a collar tinted azure. “Static” is a cathartic, grimace-wearing riffer that just feels good to stomp its way through some muddy rock n roll murk and kick up some defiant dust into the air, while a warbly vocal rides the sails of some healthily mean sounding guitars.

Current’s pick: “Lost Souls.” This one’s definitely a rocker, something you’d accelerate to if your car stereo blasted it on the freeway or an assured inciter of fitful dancing if you hear it at the club. “Let the music play on…” Farrar sings, before a buzzsaw of electric guitars quicken and roar, “…this world won’t give us the time…” There is a fantastic urgency and defiance to this song. So much of the newest batch of songs from Son Volt sounds like the soothsayer who spurs you to go back out into the world, even if it’s storming.  And boy, has it been storming all year, so far…

Son Volt comes to the Ark on Sunday, April 2
Their latest album, “Notes of Blue,” was released in late February on Universal Music

More info

Trending

Domino’s Farms Aids Ann Arbor’s Need for Office Space

Domino’s Pizza and Arbor Research are both launching new office building projects at Domino’s Farms. Domino’s Pizza is creating a 33,000-square-foot building on the north side of Domino’s Farms, expanding to their current space. Arbor Research is creating a new 49,500-square-foot headquarters building on the east side of Domino’s Farms. Both buildings should be completed

A Physician’s Perspective on Legalized Cannabis

On Tuesday, November 6th, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Ten years ago, we had become the 13th state to legalize Cannabis for medical use. I voted for the medical cannabis law years ago because, in my view, cannabis is not a dangerous product, and too many people were being imprisoned for its use. At that time, however, I did not subscribe to the argument that there were legitimate medical uses for cannabis. How things have changed.

Tiny Expo at Ann Arbor District Library—A Curated Holiday Gift Fair with Flair

The Tiny Expo is a gem of an indie arts and crafts fair for vendors with original and unexpected products that make wonderful gifts but may not be an obvious fit for Ann Arbor’s mainstream art fairs. Shoppers who crave artistic, high quality products with diverse price points will find a rich variety of unique, handmade products to choose from.

New Tenants in Downtown Ypsilanti

Formerly long-vacant buildings in Downtown Ypsilanti are experiencing revitalization as small businesses and nonprofits are rapidly filling up spaces. Michigan Advocacy Program (MAP), a nonprofit organization that, “provides access to the justice systems for those that need it most,” recently purchased the Smith Furniture building at 15 S Washington Street which became their headquarters. Decode