JAY FARRAR Sebastopol (Artemis/Sony) Rating: NN
After Jay Farrar wasted the past few years thinking he was boldly blazing a new trail through uncharted alt-country when he was merely remaking the same Son Volt record with slightly different words, the brooding elder statesman of the No Depression clique tries it again with a different set of musicians. Despite the enormous potential in collaborating with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, slide guitarist Kelly Joe Phelps and Flaming Lips keyboardist Steve Drodze, who greatly expand the instrumental palette (synthesizers!), Farrar's signature mope 'n' groan turns it into the usual plodding monotony. Expect to hear a stripped-down version of Sebastopol when Jay Farrar stops by Lee's Palace tonight (Thursday, November 1).