American Central Dust Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 20 Ratings

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  • Summary: Jay Farrar returns to Son Volt to release the band's sixth album.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 20
  2. Negative: 2 out of 20
  1. This is Farrar’s most consistent album in years, in large part because he no longer seems to be straining so much. American Central Dust shows Farrar in his comfort zone, recording songs he knows his fans will like, and not much caring whether his detractors get on board.
  2. American Central Dust doesn't have the feel of a step into new territory the way Son Volt's past two albums did, but it consolidates old strengths and confirms Jay Farrar is still an artist worth caring about to 20 years after Uncle Tupelo cut their first album.
  3. There's an easiness and directness to these tunes that was missing the last couple of times out, aided by Joe Henry and Ryan Freeland's no-nonsense mix but owing mainly to Farrar's vivid songwriting.
  4. 60
    The song themselves are thoughtful, ambling between folk, country and mid-paced roots-rock. [Aug 2009, p.100]
  5. 54
    This one settles for regrettably generic high-plains fiddle and wistful sighs of pedel-steel guitar. [Summer 2009, p.94]
  6. While frontman Jay Farrar was instrumental in defining the alt-country scene, the problem with Dust is that, in the intervening years since Son Volt first rose to prominence, that scene has been bogged down by countless dreary, soundalike albums and an exhausting self-seriousness.
  7. The album's sound is raw, but "raw," even in the Americana circles that Son Volt travels in, doesn't always equate with primal power. Sometimes it's just undercooked.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. May 10, 2013
    Son Volt's American Central Dust contains some of the best of the country rock genre. Tracks such as No Turning Back and Jukebox of Steel are pure delight. Jay Farrar and company are an American treasure. Expand
  2. JamesR
    Jul 8, 2009
    Pretty good album. For the first time since Sebastopol, Farrar consistently evokes an emotional response with his music. And it's mostly a good one. Some of the tunes sound overly familiar and lack originality. However, it's still much more consistently pleasant than his last several efforts. Expand
  3. clayH
    Jul 11, 2009
    I really like this effort by Jay and the boys this time around. It's not "Trace" of course, but it's not "The Search" either. The album is mature, solid, and soothing on various levels. Jay seems to have found his peace and wisdom which could be a blessing for all us fans. Hey Pitchfork, a 37 score get real! I guess being stranded in your "ivory tower" feels nice for you. Expand
  4. DebK
    Jul 12, 2009
    He is no Jeff Tweedy, but he taint half bad.
  5. BertE
    Jul 10, 2009
    First half of the album is energetic and inspired. However, the second half gets bogged down in a bit of a malaise which causes the songs to become nearly indistinguishable. Expand
  6. RL
    Jul 12, 2009
    Everything by Son Volt, including this new one, sounds the same...largely due to Farrar's monotonous, unchanging vocals and the generic, re-hashed quality of the tunes themselves. Expand