Son Volt Confront Political Division on Upcoming New Album, ‘Union’
The alt-country stalwarts of Son Volt are back with an upcoming new album filled with candid social commentary about today's caustic political climate. The group has announced that their next album, Union, will drop on March 29, 2019, a year that also marks their 25th anniversary as a band.
Son Volt are used to drawing from cultural sources and the world around them for their music's subject matter. 2017's Notes of Blue -- the group's most recent release -- deals with the power music, especially the blues, holds to transcend everyday life and lift people out of the mundanity or frustration of their surroundings. If that project provides an underlying optimism, however, Union will showcase more of the pain of division, while still taking time to spotlight music's ability to heal and offer respite from troubling sociopolitical times.
"There are so many forces driving our country apart," founding Son Volt member Jay Farrar points out in a press release. "What can we do to bring our society back together?"
To answer that question, Son Volt delve deep into a batch of songs steeped in the history of protest music, both thematically and symbolically. Several of Union's 13 tracks were recorded at locations Farrar views as important to America's history.
Three songs off the project were tracked at the Mother Jones Museum -- a monument to the life and work of labor and community organizer Mary Harris, or "Mother Jones" -- while four more of the album's tracks were recorded at the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Okla. In fact, Guthrie served as a significant musical influence for Son Volt's new project, whose last track, "The Symbol," takes inspiration from the folk icon's "Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)."
Union will be Son Volt's ninth album since the formation of the group in 1994. In addition to Farrar's vocals and songwriting, the project features bandmates Mark Spencer on piano, organ, acoustic slide, lap steel and backing vocals; Andrew DuPlantis on bass and backing vocals; Chris Frame on guitar and Mark Patterson on drums and percussion.