Live at the celebrated Denver-area Gothic Theatre, the Americana pioneers touched all the right bases.
TEXT BY TIM HINELY / PHOTOS BY JEFFREY WEBB DAVIS
It had been close to two decades since I’d last seen Jay Farrar’s Son Volt in a live setting. I loved the band’s first two records (and most of the third one, too), but after that record Farrar didn’t release another Son Volt record for another 7 years (2005’s Okemag and the Melody of Riot) and instead opted to release records under his own name and do some collaborations. It wasn’t quite the same for me. I’d heard bits of later records but for me nothing quite seemed to catch that magic like those first few records.
I wasn’t going to go tonight, but a few pals had planned on it so I joined in. Plus Sera Cahoone was opening and I try not to miss any of her sets.
Walked in to a packed house at the Gothic and Cahoone had just started. It was just her on stage with a friend who was playing violin. Cahoone is touring for her new record, From Where I Started (Lady Muleskinner Records) and it’s another gorgeous bunch of folky songs from this highly underrated songwriter. They played a handful of cuts from that record but also pulled out some classics from her last record, 2012’s Deer Creek Canyon including the title track and “Nervous Wreck.” They also did a splendid cover of “Delta Dawn” and called it a night, but not before giving a shout out to her family (Cahoone was born and raised in the Denver area but now lives in Seattle).
Farrar and company hit the stage at 10 PM and I noticed that I wasn’t the oldest person here and the gig was a nice mix of ages. They opened playing a bunch of cuts from his latest, Notes of Blue including “Static,” “Lost Souls” and “Cherokee St.” From there they also pulled out several gems from classic first album, Trace including “Route,” “Tear Stained Eye,” “Drown” and “Catching On” while from ‘97’s Straightaways they played the beautiful pop song “Back Into Your World.”
During the set the band members mostly kept their heads down and played with Farrar, a man not known for too much chatter, occasionally mumbled a “thank you” in between songs (toward the end of the set he also introduced the band).
They came out for a two-song-encore which was “Windfall’ and Uncle Tupelo’s “Chickamauga” and then came out for a second encore handling the Velvet Underground’s “What Goes On,” slowing it down, if just a little. Another terrific set from this hard-working bunch. All of the folks I spoke to after the set were more than satisfied.