Son Volt

Wednesday, July 22

The music of Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and Son Volt’s Jay Farrar couldn’t sound less alike. However, the two share a unique kinship. Since being sacked from Metallica for hard-livin’ — which begs the question: How hard does one have to live to get sacked from early-‘80s Metallica — Mustaine formed Megadeth, a metal band which reached great heights, but never as great as Metallica. Farrar, whose wound was more self-inflicted, was the co-leader, with Jeff Tweedy, of Uncle Tupelo. Once Farrar sparked the dissolution of that seminal Americana outfit in the mid-‘90s, he went on to form Son Volt, which has enjoyed a rock-solid career that has nonetheless been dwarfed by the commercial and critical superstardom of Wilco, the more adventurous band formed by Tweedy. But don’t feel too bad for Mustaine and Farrar — the success they’ve enjoyed still puts them in the top half-percentile of folks who’ve ever strapped on a guitar. And despite Wilco’s deified status, there exists that rare species of Uncle Tupelo fan who swears by Son Volt’s adherence to the slide-guitar aesthetic over Wilco’s stylistic polygamy. Son Volt’s new album, American Central Dust, is relaxed and solid, but doesn’t quite reach the peaks of 2007’s The Search, which featured one of the best tracks, “Methamphetamine,” recorded by any artist of any genre in any year. Add Cowboy Junkies to this Zoo Tunes bill, and you’ve got a match made in melancholic heaven. All ages.

Wed., July 22, 6 p.m., 2009

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