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Jay Farrar

While you may not think of Jay Farrar as a solo artist, you probably know him as the founder of the legendary Uncle Tupelo, and later the principle creative force behind Son Volt. Farrar began Uncle Tupelo with his high school friend Jeff Tweedy in Belleville, Illinois in the late '80s. The two went on to mix their love of punk and country into an influential underground rock-meets-country sound that gave birth to an entire new sub-genre, alt-country. In fact, the principle print magazine covering the genre is named after the group's first album, No Depression.

As often happens with bands containing two or more strong singer/songwriters, one of the songwriters, Farrar, eventually split to found a new group Son Volt, taking Tupelo drummer Mike Heidorn with him, while Tweedy started up Wilco with the remaining members. Son Volt released three acclaimed albums on Warner Brothers in the late '90s, but never quite generated same response as Uncle Tupelo. But how could one rival the impact of such a pivotal band?

The new century saw Farrar begin to play solo acoustic shows ramping up for his first solo release, Sebastapol, which came out in 2001 on Artemis Records. 2002's ThirdShiftGrottoSlack is an EP produced with Tom Rothrock which proves that Jay Farrar remains one of the best genre-bending songwriters of his generation. Rothrock mixed the featured track, "Damn Shame," bringing in bluesy slide guitars and Bonham-esque backbeats.