Fingerprints Music

Terroir Blues
Artist: Jay Farrar
Format: CD
New: Not in stock

Formats and Editions


From its first note, Terroir Bluesunfolds like an elegantly wrought treasure map, all faded calligraphy on barecowhide, rolled up and hidden for hundreds of years. Put the album on once ortwice, and chances are good that you'll nod your head and tap your feet to trackslike "Hanging on to You" without fully deciphering the story Farrar has begunto tell.

Listen carefully, and you'll begin to collect the clues. "You're gonnafind pain/ When you're out on the road," Farrar broods convincingly some 25 minutesinto the disc. "Loneliness will come calling/ Don't let the falling rain get inyour mind/ Intensify the world/ Revolutions from within/ Take everything in stride/The story-ghosts you share/ When you're out on the road."

Yet Farrar prefers totravel mental"rather than physical"distances on this album, crossing the centuriesof his St. Louis hometown to find his own ghosts. The hauntingly sparse "Cahokian"reveals ancient history, covering the Indian civilization that ruled the upperMississippi valley more than a thousand years ago, while the two versions of "Hearton the Ground" (stripped-down country and full-blown rock ‘n' roll) depict betrayal,Missouri-style.

The album's underlying voice is Jay's father, Jim "Pops" Farrar,an itinerant musician and former Merchant Marine who died in the summer of 2002."Hard Is the Fall" and "Dent County" are both stories from the elder Farrar'slife, while the western weeper "California" shows that the burden was lifted fromfather to son.

Joined by a handpicked group of alt-country heroes (including theBlood Oranges' Mark Spencer on piano and lap steel and Superchunk's Jon Wursteron drums), Farrar somberly entwines the past and present on these 23 tracks. Morearticulate and introspective than any other alt-country release this year, TerroirBlues is an American masterpiece.
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