Founder of alternative country band Uncle Tupelo, leader of Son Volt and solo artist Jay Farrar will stop in Grass Valley as part of his tour with Gary Hunt for an April 17 concert presented at the Center for the Arts.
Songwriter, guitarist, harmonicist and vocalist, Farrar, based in St. Louis, Mo. began his solo music career in 2001.
Farrar formed Uncle Tupelo with Jeff Tweedy and Mike Heidorn in 1987. The trio recorded three albums for Rockville Records, before signing with Sire Records.
Farrar left the band shortly after the release of the band’s major label debut album, Anodyne. Tweedy later went on to form Wilco.
After the dissolution of Uncle Tupelo in 1994, Farrar formed the rock group Son Volt, considered by some to be one of the most important and influential bands on the alt-country scene.
The group mingles hard-country twang, gritty roots-rock and spare, wistful acoustic-folk, in heady, inspired fashion.
Farrar’s musical style ranges from sparse, unaccompanied folk music to full rock and roll band arrangements comparable to Neil Young or Dinosaur Jr.
His solo recordings also often include psychedelic sound experiments with a distinctly Eastern bent. One of the hallmarks of his sound is the use of alternate tunings on the guitar.
His love for Woody Guthrie inspired a custom guitar made by Creston Lea of Vermont.
The original lineup of Son Volt released three albums before a hiatus in 1999. In 1999, Farrar participated in the tribute album for Moby Grape co-founder Skip Spence, who was terminally ill with cancer.
In 2005, Uncle Tupelo re-formed with a different lineup. The band’s albums, “American Central Dust” and “Honky Tonk,” have shown a decidedly more acoustic direction with Merle Haggard and Buck Owens influences while remaining contemporary.
Other classic influences include: Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Little Feat, the Rolling Stones and early R.E.M.
Farrar has worked closely with keyboardist Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips, Eric Heywood, Mark Spencer from the Blood Oranges, and the rock group Canyon.
Recently Farrar collaborated with Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie for the documentary soundtrack, “One Fast Move Or I’m Gone: Music From Kerouac’s Big Sur” (F-Stop/Atlantic), with lyrics based on the prose of Jack Kerouac’s novel, “Big Sur.”
Tickets to the April 17 show are $22 for members of the Center, $25 for the general public and are available at the Center’s Box Office in person, by phone at 530-274-8384 ext. 14, online at www.thecenterforthearts.org or at BriarPatch Co-op.
For more, go to www.thecenterforthearts.org.