Listen: Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, Yim Yames record songs based on Woody Guthrie lyrics

Did you know about this? I just read a 3-star review of the New Multitudes CD – a collection of songs built upon unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyrics by Jay Farrar (Son Volt), Will Johnson (Centro-matic), Anders Parker (Varnaline), Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket) – in the new issue (Paul McCartney-cover) of Rolling Stone. The magazine’s website did a feature on the release which one person commented, probably rightfully so, “Wasn’t this album called Mermaid Avenue?”

I’m snagging this from Facebook because it explains the project better than I can:

New Multitudes is an intimate interpretation of American icon and musical legend Woody Guthrie’s previously unrecorded lyrics from a dream team of Americana torchbearers: Jay Farrar (Son Volt), Will Johnson (Centro-matic), Anders Parker (Varnaline), and Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket). What makes this album such a rarity in today’s music world is the allowance of the songs’ infectious simplicity to stand alone in all their glory. In doing so, Farrar, Johnson, Parker, and Yames have paid the greatest compliment to Woody Guthrie and the collaborative spirit he so greatly embodied. This is an album which seamlessly converges the sepia-toned essence of the time honored past with the risks needed to forge the future.

There’s a small handful of tour dates scheduled to promote the release of New Multitudes.

In My Ear – Week of September 19

Here’s some things I listened to last week. Feel free to tell me what you listened to by leaving your list in the comment section below.

The Gracious Few
Candlebox singer backed by members of Live in a Zeppelin-sounding band. Much better than I would have thought based on description alone.

The Posies – Blood/Candy
As with other bands, my favorites Posies CD is the first one I heard by the Seattle power-pop band, Frosting on the Beater. But, after years of making The Posies their second and third priority, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow have reunited and put out an album that holds it’s own against Frosting on the Beater. Can’t wait to see these guys on tour (w/ Brendan Benson and Aqueduct) in November.

Kelly Kneiser
This is the first solo recording from Glossary member Kelly Kneiser. She doesn’t fancy herself a songwriter so all the songs on this EP were written and donated by friends but Kelly delivers the charming vocals providing further evidence why she’s the secret weapon in the band led by her ex-husband Joey. The EP is available for free over on Glossary’s website.

The Organ Beats
Another freebie – not sure how long this will last so grab now if you’re interested – The Organ Beats are led by ex-Damone frontwoman Noelle LeBlanc. While Damone also flirted with an ’80s hair metal sound, The Organ Beats are a bit more straight-up rock with just a small dash of pop … probably a more marketable sound than Damone. (Click on “Buy” below and name your own price for the CD)

<a href="http://theorganbeats.bandcamp.com/album/sleep-when-we-are-dead">SLEEP WHEN WE ARE DEAD by The Organ Beats</a>

Massy Ferguson
Remember the early Son Volt material, the stuff when Jay Farrar had just split from Uncle Tupelo and was trying to make a name for himself as a solo artist? Massy Ferguson remembers that and their second full length, Hard Water (out on Oct.19), is a hearty tribute to the alt.country sounds of bands like Son Volt and Drive-By Truckers. Sample tracks on Massy Ferguson’s website (the player is on the top of the page – I highly recommend starting with “Long Time No See”).

Death Cab for Son Volt

This pairing sounds interesting – Jay Farrar (Son Volt) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) have teamed up on album of songs dedicated to author Jack Kerouac. The album, One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur, will also serve as the soundtrack to a documentary by the same name.  The two singers share vocals on the 12 tracks and are backed by Brad Sarno (pedal steel), Aaron Espinoza (bass) and Mark Spencer (multiple instruments).

The album will be available in multiple combos/formats (CD, CD+DVD, CD+DVD+book) on October 20.

Here’s Jay Farrar performing “San Francisco” from the album.

(Thanks Tim for the link to a story about the Farrar/Gibbard pairing)