After spearheading the alternative country movement with his band Uncle Tupelo, Jay Farrar pursued his vision with Son Volt, who recorded three landmark albums in the '90s before the groundbreaking artist put the band on extended hiatus and cut three solo records. Now back with his third Son Volt album of the decade, Jay Farrar has delivered what may be his finest work yet, American Central Dust. The new album exhilaratingly carries on the tradition of the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Little Feat circa Sailin' Shoes, the Rolling Stones of Exile on Main Street and early R.E.M., with standouts like the exceptional "Down to the Wire," "Dynamite" and "No Turning Back." An epic lament for the heartland, American Central Dust is populated with readily recognizable characters, the most hopeful of them searching for love against a backdrop of rusted road signs and abandoned factories. Rarely does a musical work so powerfully capture the zeitgeist of its historical moment while also honoring the traditions of rock & roll with such rawboned grace.