Release Date: Oct 20, 2009
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Rock, Alt-Country
While Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar have had their share of differences since the acrimonious breakup of Uncle Tupelo, at least they now have one rather remarkable thing in common -- they've both had the opportunity to collaborate with a noted American writer who happened to be dead. In 1998, Tweedy's group Wilco joined forces with Billy Bragg on the album Mermaid Avenue, in which they set a handful of newly discovered poems by Woody Guthrie to music, and now Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie have released One Fast Move or I'm Gone, a collection of songs created for a documentary film about the fabled Beat-era writer Jack Kerouac and the troubling circumstances that inspired his 1962 novel Big Sur. For One Fast Move or I'm Gone, Farrar has taken passages from Kerouac's book and, with a bit of editing and paraphrasing, set them to original melodies, with Farrar and Gibbard trading off on the lead vocals.
That former Uncle Tupelo member and current Son Volt leader Jay Farrar would attempt to record an album of songs that pay tribute to Beat Generation hero Jack Kerouac via his novel Big Sur isn’t too surprising. Farrar has always had an eye and a voice for the lonely, dirt road epics that Kerouac’s feet walked on years before Farrar ever picked up a guitar. The surprising factor is in Farrar’s partner for the project: Death Cab For Cutie front man (and now Mr.
Big Sur was Jack Kerouac's post-fame novel. On the Road had turned him into one of the voices of his generation, and the demands of sudden celebrity were too much for him. Living in New York, he drank heavily and got jumped outside a bar, so he moved to San Francisco, where he continued to drink heavily. Finally he decided to sober up and remove himself from the society that wanted increasingly larger pieces of him, so he trekked out to Lawrence Ferlinghetti's cabin in the wilds of Big Sur, where he dried out in seclusion and tried to right himself.