On paper, the lineup for the second annual Mound City Music Fest
looks like a bummer. Live, it may well be the show of the year. Jay Farrar (the benefit's organizer) and Son Volt have never sounded more engaged with their material or audience. Ditto for quizzical, unacknowledged inventor of freak-folk Vic Chesnutt, whose most recent album, Ghetto Bells
, is gorgeous and dream-like words rarely associated with fellow Southerner and chief Drive-By Trucker Patterson Hood, whose solo work plunges fiercely into darkness. Also making a rare solo appearance is brainy popsmith Joe Pernice, who has promised not to read from his novel. Proceeds benefit the Music Maker's New Orleans Musician Fund and St. Louis' own South City Open Studio and Gallery.