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Son Volt (from the album Day of the Doug available on Transmit Sound/Thirty Tigers) (By Lee Zimmerman)
When one is at the helm of an iconic ensemble, it’s all too easy to simply coast on reputation and accept all the accolades that have been accorded in return. However, it’s far more gracious and meaningful to offer homage to those that were an initial influence and the source of inspiration early on.
That’s the premise behind Day of the Doug, a tribute to the late — and legendary — Texas troubadour Doug Sahm. While Son Volt is universally recognized as one of the forebears of the modern Americana movement, founder Jay Farrar considered Sahm his hero and even shared a personal connection when Sahm guested on the Uncle Tupelo album Anodyne. That final album eventually paved the way for Son Volt following that band’s break-up.
Farrar credits Doug Sahm for providing his own inspiration, having paved the way for the melding of Country, Rock, Roots and Tex-Mex/Tejano music with his 1960s outfit, the Sir Douglas Quintet. That group managed to score three Top 40 hits even at the height of Beatlemania, courtesy of such songs as “Mendocino”, “She’s About a Mover”, and “The Rains Came” — all of which reached the upper strata of the Billboard charts.
That said, Day of the Doug doesn’t replay those familiar favorites and instead focuses on deeper tracks that are less known, and yet still worthy of recognition. “Poison Love” may be the only song recognized by those who are decidedly less aware of Sahm’s seminal standards. However, even though Son Volt puts their own assertive stamp on the music — rocking out on the effusive and infectious “Sometimes You’ve Got To Stop Chasing Rainbows”, offering a riveting take on “What About Tomorrow”, and delivering a driving “Juan Mendoza” — Doug Sahm’s sound still resonates with the celebratory sheen of “Beautiful Texas Sunshine” and the supple sway of “Dynamite Woman”. So too, the Honky Tonk embellishment of “”Huggin’ Thin Air” and the twang-tempered “Keep Your Soul” ensure a credible connection to the music that informed Sahm himself.
Soundbites of Doug Sahm’s voice open and close the album, underscoring the emphatic intent, but Farrar and company deserve real credit for bringing Sahm’s sound front and center. It’s title aside, Day of the Doug reflects a timeless tapestry. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Son Volt from AMAZON
For more information, please visit the Son Volt website
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