By Jeremy Saperstein
Terroir Blues (“terroir” is French word, by the way, literally translated as “soil”) is a much more finished work than Farrar’s first solo effort Sebastapol (which was still a great record. The consistency probably is helped by the first consistent group of Farrar has had with him since the apparent splintering of Son Volt. Mark Spencer (Blood Oranges), Brian Henneman (Bottle Rockets) and Jon Wurster (Superchunk) are among thoses who function as Farrar’s band for this outing, and the reward is seen in a record that contains as much experimentalism as Sebastapol (as in the between tracks noise of parts I-VI of “Space Junk”).
The name of this record is particularly apt — not like the dirt of the Stooges, say, but the earth a farmer might let slip hopefully through his fingers, dreaming of a fine harvest. Farrar is a man at the top of his game right now and seems able to grasp anything he reaches for. This record is a great display of mastery of American music.