Starting in 1998, Wilco and Billy Bragg created a picture of the American West by setting the forgotten lyrics of Woody Guthrie to music on the Mermaid Avenue albums. Two decades later, Jay Farrar, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy’s former bandmate in Uncle Tupelo, crafted a different image of California when recording the soundtrack for the Jack Kerouac documentary One Fast Move or I’m Gone. While Tweedy has gone on to experiment with a variety of rock traditions, Farrar remains rooted in the alt-country world, both as a solo artist and with his group Son Volt. Sad and sweet, his songs tell of aimless nights on the road and pause to consider what might have been. When he takes the stage at the Birchmere, Farrar performs the lushly instrumented tracks from Son Volt’s first album, Trace: Among them “Out of the Picture,” a delicate tale of loss, and the slightly grungier “Drown.” Jay Farrar performs with Holy Suns at 7:30 p.m. at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $29.50. (703) 549-7500. thebirchmere.com.