New Son Volt Track "Cherokee St." Honors St. Louis' Coolest Street

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Son Volt - PHOTO BY DAVID MCCLISTER
  • Photo by David McClister
  • Son Volt

Late last week, alt-country champions Son Volt premiered a new track through the Wall Street Journal from the band's forthcoming album Notes of Blue. The track is called "Cherokee St.," and is inspired by the south St. Louis roadway of the same name.

Accompanying the premiere is an interview with Son Volt frontman Jay Farrar in which he discusses the new album, as well as the inspiration for the St. Louis-centered song. From the interview:

Wall Street Journal: It wouldn’t have occurred to me to compare your singing to Skip James, but on a song like “Cherokee Street” you can hear a similarity in the way the pitch of your voice shifts.

Jay Farrar: “Cherokee Street” was written with “Bentonia” tuning [prevalent around Skip James’s hometown of Bentonia, Miss.]. It’s a B-minor bass tuning that supposedly has its origins in the Bahamas. It ultimately shapes where the song is going to end up and the way you wind up singing. That really propelled the song.

Does “Cherokee Street” exist?

It does. It’s a very vibrant street in St. Louis, populated with an emerging scene of artists moving in. There’s also historical section where there are Mexican restaurants and record shops, so it’s just a vibrant mix of good stuff going on. Where you can see the smile of a Cherokee Street girl and you can get a very good taco. I grew up in this area, and certainly it is changing. I was able to see a lot of blues musicians first hand, going back to when I was a teenager and would get into clubs and see the piano-based blues St. Louis was known for. One guy in particular, James Crutchfield, would have jam sessions with a guy named Bennie Smith. It was just a great environment to see blues performed.

Notes of Blue will be released on February 17 through Nashville's Thirty Tigers entertainment company. Son Volt will perform in St. Louis on Saturday, March 18 at the Pageant.

Stream "Cherokee St." below:


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