Jay Farrar seems to be channeling Woody Guthrie's spirit on Son Volt's latest CD Okemah and the Melody of Riot. Much as Jeff Tweedy & Billy Bragg channeled Woody Guthrie on Mermaid Ave. in 1998, Okemah contains the spirit of folk legend Guthrie. Okemah, Oklahoma was the birthplace of Woody Guthrie, author of one the "most scathing American ballads ever written 'This Land Is Your Land' ".
Okemah and the Melody of Riot is on DualDisc with a documentary Break Through The Lens on the flip side. The DVD has studio footage, an interview with Jay Farrar and a live performances of "Afterglow 61", "Atmosphere", "Medication" & "Joe Citizen Blues".
Over on SOUND THE SIRENS in a review by Luke Daniel Rush who is a little less fond of protest songs:
"Farrar spends a fair amount of time grinding his rusty ax against that great immovable object known as the United States government, but after seven years on the sidelines and two contentious elections by the boards, you'd expect that he might have a missive or two tucked away in the coffers. It might have been a more noble artistic motion had not Farrar drawn such a high number at the Protest Song deli counter. Simply put, it ain't as fresh a topic as it used to be. For each pertinent lyric like "Piecemeal solutions will only leave scars / Bandages for nosebleeds," there's a simple, unveiled screed like "His daddy has a job in Washington / Wants to raise a Harvard son / Junior liked to let his hair down / Only trouble is, word gets around..." Fortunately, it becomes easy to revel in the power chords on "Jet Pilot" even as Farrar invokes silly lines like "everyone needs a hunting pal" and the well-worn "the revolution will be televised."