I’ve been a fan of Jason Isbell back when he was the young upstart in Drive-By Truckers, thought his first solo record blew away his stuff with Patterson Hood, was sad when he jumped to a major label (but happy for Jason), and was overjoyed when he released his latest album, Here We Rest, on the indie Lightning Rod Records.
With gems like “Alabama Pines”and “Codeine,” and the incredible old soul blues rocker “Heart on a String,” this is my favorite of all his solo efforts so far. I suppose there are folks–like those flaming pretentious shmucks at Pitchf%&k, who will continue to compare Isbell to the DBTs. But to do so is to miss the point completely. Isbell was always a cleaner, clearer songwriter–where the DBTs are about grit and honesty, Isbell has always been about the craft. It’s like comparing Wu Tang Clan to LL Cool J. Both are great, and they share a genre, but their styles are completely different. Jason is R&B Americana, and with this, his second record with The 400 Unit, he pretty much sheds his past in favor of soft harmonies and tightly structured ballads. If there was pop radio for the likes of Ryan Adams, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, and Fred J. Eaglesmith, Jason Isbell would surely be in the top 10.
I love this album. LOVE IT. It’s easily one of the best of the year so far. Love it so much, I’m planning a second Jason Isbell post–just to help get the word out on it.
JASON ISBELL DOES COVERS!
Psycho Killer (Talking Heads)
Into the Mystic (Van Morrison)
Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line (Waylon Jennings) (Mike Dillon on vocals)