Striking a powerful chord and bringing history back to life, the formidable band Son Volt is returning to the stage with a compelling homage. They’re setting their sights on the unforgettable figure of Doug Sahm in their latest album, “Day Of The Doug,” set to hit the airwaves on June 16th through Transmit Sound/Thirty Tigers. Son Volt’s visionary, Jay Farrar, spearheads this 12-track compilation, aimed not only to honor Sahm’s immeasurable influence but also to throw the spotlight back onto some of his undervalued hits—mainly from his golden run during the late ’60s to the ’70s. Farrar cuts to the chase: “My mode of picking the songs was primarily to celebrate the ones that I thought were overlooked.” Get a taste of their rendition of “Sometimes You’ve Got To Stop Chasing Rainbows” above.
Doug Sahm’s influence in the music industry stretches wide and deep. His five-decade career was a non-stop voyage of musical fusion, blending rock, R&B, country, folk, Tex-Mex, and psychedelia into a distinctive sound that was quintessentially Sahm. Whether it was his early days sharing the stage and playing steel with the legendary Hank Williams Sr., producing three Top 40 hits with the Sir Douglas Quintet, or his acclaimed solo career, Sahm’s musical metamorphosis was nothing short of extraordinary. Farrar paints a vivid picture of Sahm, stating: “He’s a larger-than-life character. He reminds me of Neal Cassady from On the Road. His life was epic.” The echoes of Sahm’s impact on American music are still resonating as strongly today as ever.
To Farrar, Sahm was more than a muse—he was a friend and a mentor. The musical bond they shared was immortalized when Sahm joined Farrar for the final Uncle Tupelo album, Anodyne (1993), creating a memorable rendition of Sahm’s classic song “Give Back the Key to My Heart.” Day Of The Doug is bookended with personal voicemails left by Sahm on Farrar’s answering machine. As Farrar describes, “It’s like reconnecting with a hero. And getting back to the same kind of perspective I had when I was starting out as a younger musician. I think it’s just important to step back from what you normally do. Take stock. Take inspiration. And see where it leads from there.”
Son Volt rocked the alt-country landscape in 1995 with their game-changing debut album, Trace. As a cornerstone of what would eventually evolve into the Americana movement, Trace’s silver jubilee in 2020 was scheduled to be commemorated with a mammoth tour. However, the pandemic had other plans.
Fast forward to the present, Son Volt is primed to hit the road again, celebrating Trace’s 28th anniversary. The band is planning a tour that will take them through July, August, and September, delighting fans with a complete performance of the album. Alongside the tribute to Trace, the band will also perform songs honoring Sahm and marking their own 28-year journey in the industry. This promises to be a summer filled with the echoes of the past and the thrill of the present.
Look for Son Volt at the Basement East right here in Nashville on 7/11.