Blending rootsy, folkie traditions with ragged, spiky guitars, Uncle Tupelo helped kick Southern rock into a new era and lead the alternative country scene in the 1990s, before Jeff Tweedy went on to start Wilco with the bulk of the band and Jay Farrar and drummer Mike Heidorn re-emerged with the driving, indie-Americana group Son Volt. Growing up in St Louis, Missouri Farrar was originally inspired by his parents' record collection, which included classic rock like The Rolling Stones and The Faces alongside country and folk legends such as Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie. He went on to play in local band The Primitives with Tweedy before the pair formed Uncle Tupelo and defined a new sound that was equally inspired by the weathered country rock of Neil Young as the grunge grit of Dinosaur Jnr on landmark albums Anodyne and No Depression. Forming Son Volt in 1994, their debut album Trace felt like a backwater, honky tonk road movie, full of rambling cinematic imagery and weary storytelling, and was named in the top 10 of Rolling Stone magazine's end of year list. Though critical acclaim didn't lead to commercial success, 1997's Straightaways and 1998's Wide Swing Tremelo cemented Farrar's reputation as a bottom-of-the-barrel, heartaching songwriter, which he further enhanced on a number of stripped bare, acoustic solo albums in the early 2000s. A new Son Volt line-up returned with the raw, alternative rock sprawl Okemah and the Melody of Riot in 2005, before Farrar dabbled with Memphis Soul grooves and social commentary on The Search and painted Springsteen-like portraits of blue collar life on American Central Dust. After 2013’s Honky Tonk, the band signed to Thirty Tiger Records which would release 2017’s Notes of Blue, 2019’s Union, and 2021’s Electro Melodier.