Son Volt

Live from Austin TX [DVD]

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It's always fun for fans of a group when older stuff surfaces, enriching the band's catalog and overall accomplishments. Live from Austin TX travels back to November 11, 1996, for Son Volt's first appearance on Austin City Limits. Yes, that's nearly ten years and another lineup ago, and what fans may think of as classic Son Volt. The really cool thing is that even if a viewer caught the show, he or she only caught the heavily edited, half-hour version; here, the show runs over an hour. The material reflects a band somewhere between Trace in 1995 and Straightaways in 1997, with versions of favorites including "Tear Stained Eye" and "Windfall." The performance here is solid but familiar, meaning that the songs don't sound all that different from the studio versions. Then, as now, Jay Farrar's vocals dominate the band's alternative country sound, and one's enjoyment of the band will depend on whether one enjoys his driven nasal drone. Thanks to the DVD format and 5.1 Surround sound, the set, sonically speaking, probably sounds much better than it did for the Austin audience way back in 1996. For Son Volt fans or anyone wanting to take a look at the roots of contemporary alternative country, Live from Austin TX does an excellent job.

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