T.J. Simon's #16 album for 2003
First Appeared at The Music Box, September 2003, Volume 10, #9
Written by John Metzger
Jay Farrarís second full-length solo outing is as strangely perplexing as it is deeply compelling. Scattered throughout the album are 6 brief instrumental passages dubbed Space Junk that seemingly divide the other 17 tracks into chapters. In addition, 4 of the tunes appear in both acoustic and electric versions, thereby nixing a future reissue with alternate takes. In between, with all the power and conviction that he can muster, Farrar ruminates on everything from the burial mounds of an ancient civilization to the death of his father. Though the music recalls a stripped-down and somber stroll through Farrarís days with Son Volt, at its heart, this is a blues outing through and through, just as its title suggests. Bleak soundscapes of piano and guitar are augmented with the occasional strain of cello and flute, and save for a few electric offerings tossed in at the albumís conclusion, Terroir Blues is as sparse as Sebastopol and ThirdShiftGrottoSlack were orchestrated. As such, it might test the patience of some Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt fans, but the emotional resonance Farrar injects into his mournful musings captures the sense of hopeless claustrophobia that has long pervaded his work. Only here, the music isnít full of rock ínĎ roll angst and a need to escape. Itís stuffed with the quiet resignation of a man who has been consumed by the darkness that surrounds him.
Terroir Blues is available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box