Jay Farrar's Woody Guthrie Album: I Knew Wilco Comparisons Were Inevitable
In between Son Volt albums, Jay Farrar likes to collaborate with bygone American icons: First Jack Kerouac, and now Woody Guthrie.
Farrar's latest project, 'New Multitudes,' involved setting previously unrecorded Guthrie lyrics to music with My Morning Jacket's Jim James (in his Yim Yames persona), Centro-matic's Will Johnson and Gob Iron partner Anders Parker -- just in time to help commemorate the 100th anniversary this year of Guthrie's birth.
"In a weird small way, we're kind of carrying on Woody's vision," Farrar tells Spinner, a few days before starting a short tour on the West Coast.
'New Multitudes,' out now on Rounder, actually started as two different expeditions through the sizable archive of Guthrie's unrecorded lyrics. Farrar and Parker had been chipping away at a group of songs when Guthrie's daughter, Nora, played some of their music for James, who got in touch with Farrar. They combined efforts, and brought in Johnson.
The album follows 2009's 'One Fast Move or I'm Gone,' when Farrar and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie fashioned lyrics from prose in Kerouac's 'Big Sur' for a documentary soundtrack album.
All of it filters back to Son Volt, the group Farrar founded after his first band, Uncle Tupelo, dissolved in 1994.
"From a creative standpoint, it's always good to step aside from the day-to-day routine and work in a different context, which is what these side projects like Gob Iron and working with Ben Gibbard and now working with Will, Anders and Jim, that's what it represents to me," says Farrar, who's finishing