Track: “Hearts And Minds”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Jay Farrar cranks up the twang with Son Volt’s new album, Honky Tonk, a collection of old-school country songs influenced by Buck Owens and Wynn Stewart. Some of the tunes were written on pedal steel guitar, an instrument Farrar picked up during the past two years, while others — including the rustic opening track, “Hearts and Minds” — rely on a twin-fiddle sound.
Released this week, “Hearts and Minds” is a country waltz in the Bakersfield tradition. The fiddles swoon in unison during the opening and crisscross in harmony during the solo section, while drums and acoustic guitars rattle in the background. Farrar, infamous for his stream-of-consciousness lyrics, streamlines his approach here, singing about the dangers of love in a way that targets the heart instead of the head. Or should we say the heart rather than the mind?