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This week’s Talkhouse episode features a pair of legends from the alt-country or country or No Depression or Americana worlds—you pick. It’s Jay Farrar of Son Volt along with singer-songwriter (and many other things) Steve Earle.
Jay Farrar started his career as part of the seminal band Uncle Tupelo alongside another noted songwriter (and frequent Talkhouse guest) Jeff Tweedy. After their split, Tweedy went on to Wilco while Farrar formed the band Son Volt, which has since released an impressive catalog—their tenth and latest album was recorded during pandemic downtime, and you can hear it in the deliberateness of the songs. It’s called Electro Melodier.
Steve Earle is one of those guys who makes you feel lazy. He’s not only an incredibly accomplished singer and songwriter with literally dozens of albums to his credit, he’s also a producer, an actor—most notably on The Wire—a novelist, a Sirius XM DJ, and as you’ll hear here, an aspiring TV show creator. His 2020 album Ghosts of West Virginia was spun off from an off-Broadway show he worked on, while this year’s J.T. is a tribute to his talented son, Justin Townes Earle, who passed away just last year. As you’ll hear, he’s got even more projects in the works, including a tribute to singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker.
As you’ll hear, Steve Earle loves to chat, while Jay Farrar is a bit more subdued—a fact that these friends acknowledge right off the bat. But they get into a great conversation about their favorite subject: music—what they listened to growing up, the great shows that Earle saw as a kid, and even selling some weed to Leslie West of Mountain. Steve talks about missing the whole genesis of alt-country for good reason—he was in jail—but catching up with it, and with Son Volt in particular. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast and thanks to Jay Farrar and Steve Earle for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on all your favorite podcasting services and social media channels. This week’s episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
(Photo Credit: left, Shervin Lainez; right, Ismael Quintanilla III; Edited by: Keenan Kush.)