I’m not a music geek, so I should be forgiven for not knowing that one of my all-time-favorite songs, “Mystifies Me” by Son Volt, is actually a cover. Originally written and recorded by Ron Wood (of Rolling Stones’ fame), the song benefits from the twangy steel guitar and sexy-scratchy voice of Son Volt frontman Jay Farrar. That combo does something magical to the song, making it a far more emotionally resonant version (especially for those of us who were raised in Texas and hold a soft spot for All Things Twang), than Wood’s original.
(I know this because of the news coverage that Son Volt’s groundbreaking debut album Trace is now 20 years old. It’s the kind of anniversary that makes me question the time-space continuum, despite me managing to keep “both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel” the whole dang time (well, most of the time). Wasn’t I just listening to the cassette version of Trace in my ’90 Honda Civic while I road tripped alone down I-10, passing endless mesquite tree groves and limestone cliffs in the vast West Texas high plains? Because it feels like just a few years ago. Not 20. Meh. )
Son Volt’s version:
Ron Wood’s version: