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Critic's Choice

With Terroir Blues, his second solo full-length, Jay Farrar has inched 23 tracks closer to his final destination: an image of Americana where country, punk, folk, blues and psychedelia accelerate into a single, grim gravity. In the same way that Neil Young sang folk tunes about spaceships, Farrar -- who will perform on Sunday, July 27, at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre, with Drag the River -- creates music that occupies that place between the drag of the past and the crush of the future. Rightly lauded for his rootsy, rough-hewn work in Son Volt and Uncle Tupelo, Farrar has always been a writer of road songs, the bard of being stuck in a steel capsule hurtling toward nowhere. Sounding like gusts of wind blowing in your window when you roll it down going 85 on the highway, Farrar's new songs are his most texturally adventurous work to date, one-upping last year's spectral Sebastopol and even ex-Tupelo partner Jeff Tweedy's work in Wilco. Multi-instrumentalist Mark Spencer of the Blood Oranges and drummer Jon Wurster of Superchunk augment Terroir's asphalt-eroded threnodies, echoing sadly like glances in the rearview mirror at the setting summer sun.


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