Jay Farrar isn’t exactly lacking for things to do right now.
The former Uncle Tupelo member’s band, Son Volt, is winning rave reviews for its rootsy sixth album, “American Central Dust,” which came out earlier this summer.
And Farrar also has collaborated with Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard on the soundtrack for the documentary “One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur,” about author Jack Kerouac’s autobiographically tinged 1962 novel.
Did one have an effect on the other? “I don’t know if they consciously did,” says Farrar, 42, who re-activated Son Volt in 2004 after a three-year hiatus for solo albums. “I suppose ultimately they sort of wound up with a similar approach to instrumentation.
“The Kerouac one was pretty much all finished maybe six months before we started doing ‘American Central Dust,’ so I guess it’s ultimately a reflection of being in a similar mindset to want to try a similar approach to both projects.”
Farrar acknowledges that simplicity was the key to the two recordings, and that in the case of Son Volt, he came back to a more straightforward course after being more adventurous with instrumentation and guitar tunings on the band’s last couple of albums.
“This time around, the pendulum swung the other way,” he explains, “to the point where I wanted to get back to more traditional song structures and more familiar instrumentation, especially getting back to the pedal steel and using violin.
“And I felt like I wanted to get back to writing primarily in standard (guitar) tuning for this record. It was just a convergence of getting back to basics, and, even if I don’t stay there, it felt good to do this time.”
Son Volt performs Thursday (Sept. 24) at the Majestic Theater, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call (313) 833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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