Jay Farrar grew up in a world of music, surrounded by a talented family who played and sang and taught him well. His first gigs came as a teen, and by his 21st birthday, he was developing an original songwriting voice, one that was realistic, idealistic and supple. Music is Farrar's vocation. American Central Dust, his sixth album as the leader of Son Volt, is a labor of love — for the acoustic-based country rock he mastered as young man and for the images and icons (St. Louis bluesman Bennie Smith, Keith Richards and Mississippi River shipwrecks come to life on the album) that inspire him. And his band, across lineup changes — guitarist James Walbourne is back for the fall tour — continues to expand Farrar's enduring vision of American music.