Revered band Son Volt pay homage to the legendary Doug Sahm on the new album “Day Of The Doug,” out June 16th via Transmit Sound/Thirty Tigers. Son Volt founder Jay Farrar’s goal with this 12-song collection was not only to pay tribute to Sahm’s music and influence, but to also highlight some of the deeper tracks in his heralded canon, specifically from a prolific period during the late 1960s through the 1970s (see full track listing below). “My mode of picking the songs was primarily to celebrate the ones that I thought were overlooked,” says Farrar. Listen to the band’s take on “Sometimes You’ve Got To Stop Chasing Rainbows” above.
Over the course of a 50-year career, Doug Sahm blazed trails across genres, churning together key elements of rock, R&B, country, folk, Tex-Mex and psychedelia into something that existed in its own unique space. He shared a stage playing steel with Hank Williams, Sr. as a kid before making three Top 40 hits with the Sir Douglas Quintet and recording a heralded body of solo work. He never stopped evolving and consistently obliterating musical boundaries. “He’s a larger-than-life character,” says Farrar. “He reminds me of Neal Cassady from On the Road. His life was epic.” Sahm’s impact on American music is immeasurable and still reverberates today as strong as ever.
Farrar had a personal connection with Sahm, both as a friend and mentor. Sahm sang with Farrar on the final Uncle Tupelo album, Anodyne (1993), as they recorded an exceptional rendition of his classic song “Give Back the Key to My Heart.” Day Of The Doug opens and closes with personal messages left by Sahm on the Son Volt leader’s answering machine.
“It’s like reconnecting with a hero,” says Farrar. “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.”
In 1995, Son Volt released their seminal debut album, Trace, one of the most influential albums of the alt-country movement and what would later become Americana. For the 25th anniversary of the album in 2020, the group planned a tour to perform Trace from top to bottom in celebration of the milestone. However, the pandemic did not cooperate.
Now, for the 28th anniversary of Trace, Son Volt will play the album in its entirety on an extensive tour this July, August and September. Also included in the set, the band will perform an homage to Doug Sahm and a celebration of 28 years of Son Volt with songs from their catalogue.
Look for Son Volt at the Basement East right here in Nashville on 7/11.