Singer/songwriter Jay Farrar will bring his distinctive alt-country style to the Strand Theatre, 345 Main St., Thursday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m. British alt-country rock singer/songwriter Peter Bruntnell, considered a gem of the UK Americana scene, will open the concert.

In the 1990s, Farrar helped form two of alt-country's great pioneer bands, Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt, and popularized the alt-country movement. He went on to launch a solo career during the following decade and, with a keen pop ear, established a sound that used alternate tunings on the guitar and ranged into sound experiments reminiscent of psychedelia.

Farrar’s songwriting has been inspired and influenced by Jack Kerouac’s compositional style. Farrar's musical style now ranges from sparse, unaccompanied folk music; to honky-tonk country; to full rock ‘n’ roll band arrangements comparable to Neil Young or Dinosaur Jr. In addition to his talents as a songwriter and guitarist, he is a harmonicist and vocalist.

Farrar has recorded six solo albums, many more with Son Volt and Uncle Tupelo; and he has collaborated on projects such as the 2012 release “New Multitudes,” an album of previously unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyrics recorded with My Morning Jacket's Yim Yames, Centro-Matic's Will Johnson and Varnaline's Anders Parker.

In his native southwest England, where American country music is not necessarily favored, Bruntnell is known for having bizarre musical taste. Nonetheless, the charismatic performer does his own thing and has been since the early '90s when his recording career began. He has recorded 10 albums, and in 2013 announced the release of “Retrospective,” a collection of tracks spanning his 20-year career. Bruntnell has toured regularly with Son Volt.

Tickets are $20, general admission. The show is presented by WCLZ; media sponsor is Maine Magazine. The Strand balcony and lobby bars will be open for those ages 21 and older with a valid ID. To buy tickets, or for more information on all upcoming live concerts, films, HD broadcasts and events at the Strand, visit; call 594-0070, ext. 3; or email

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or