Son Volt is returning with American Central Dust on July 7th, an album that will be “an epic lament for the heartland” according to the folks at Rounder. The official Son Volt site says the new album is reminiscent of “the melodic succinctness of the band’s debut album Trace”. Good news, as that album is one of the classics of the mid-90s alt country heyday and is by far the best thing Farrar’s done since he unwisely (but thankfully) disbanded Uncle Tupelo. “Down To The Wire” is the first single, but with the drum-and-electric piano heavy arrangement sounds to me more like the studio-centric songs of his first solo album, Sebastapool, than the dusty, heartland rock and folk of Trace or Straightaways. And while we‘re on the subject of Son Volt, I'm sorry but Farrar has sometimes had the bad habit of sounding like he’s making his lyrics up as he goes along. “Down To The Wire” falls into the same trap. It depends little on melody or rhyming in favor of a stream of frustratingly vague images more than anything remotely concrete or linear. I don’t know…the jury is out on this one. Have a listen for yourself. With 5 classic albums under his belt, he deserves at least that.