Son Volt
Wideswing Tremelo

by Samuel Barker
September 20, 2000

File Under: Hard Rock

1. Straightface

2. Driving The View

3. Jodel

4. Medicine Hat

5. Strands

6. Flow

7. Dead Man's Clothes

8. Rigth On Through

9. Chanty

10. Carry You Down

11. Question

12. Streets That Time Walks

13. Hanging Blue Slide

14. Blind Hope 

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  • Son Volt
  • Wide Swing Tremelo, the newest release from Son Volt, has a lot of new to offer long time fans and still holds true to the roots rock feel of past Son Volt releases. This is a sign that the band is becoming just that, a band. Instead of each member controlling their own ideas, this record is the product of all the members putting their marks on these songs.

    The first clue to this comes as the first notes of "Straightface" are played. Theyíre harder edged, and have a true rock sound to them. Farrarís vocals are distorted and the song has a real dirty sound that shows this band isnít afraid to play some edgier rock music.

    The album then goes into itís more roots rock/folk stylings with "Driving The View." Even this song has a different feel than past Son Volt songs. Itís cleaner and more refined. Itís definitely from the same minds as older tracks, but you get a feeling that this album was worked on over time, itís well thought out.

    Next comes one of the two "filler" tracks. "Jodel" is basically Jay making noise with a harmonica that gives way to "Medicine Hat," which is one of the strongest tracks on this album. Itís got a very melodic roots rock sound. The music on this album is a lot fuller than on previous albums and it adds a lot of new dimensions to the sound.

    "Dead Manís Clothes" finally gives us a darker sounding song that many fans have come to expect from Jay Farrarís songwriting. Itís got a nice withdrawn vocal effect and the music is somber yet flows well.

    My favorite track on the album is "Carry You Down." Itís got a slower, stripped down feel. Itís got the folk feel of a lot of the early songs. It was a nice variation to the more updated sound of the other tracks.

    This album is a great step forward for the band, and I hope we get to see more out of them in the future. After the long wait for this album, I was pleased with the amount of thought put into it. I look forward to another great chapter to the Son Volt songbook in the near future.

    Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at

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