Jason Isbell’s tales of Southern culture strike a chord filled with regional flair which tell the story of a time when things were different, but all the while weave a common thread among the modern.
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit will perform at The 5 Spot in Nashville, Tenn. on April 16.
His craft has been evident since his vital stint with the Drive-By Truckers, but a bittersweet departure has turned out to be well received as Isbell has made a name of his own over the past few years.
Putting another notch in the belt, Isbell will release his third studio effort, Here We Rest, on April 12 on Lightning Rod Records. The fitting title, named after Alabama’s original state motto, shows reverence to the state in which he resides.
Drawing upon influential roots, the opening track “Alabama Pines” is an easy-strummer, which showcases Isbell’s pride of the homeland and emotional hopelessness, as references to Talladega, liquor and women are prevalent.
Identifying with place and character is a common trait with the South, and Isbell mixes characters and state of affairs that are relative to the post World War II era and can dip briefly into the Southern Gothic at times as his songwriting often hints on religion, morality and the human condition which is evident in tracks such as “Save It For Sunday” and “Daisy Mae.”
On the other hand, “Codeine” which is currently available as a free download in exchange for an e-mail, recounts a few dislikes, a bar episode and a woman with the chorus shouting “Cause one of my friends has taken her in and given her codeine” backed by an old time shuffling beat and violin arrangement.
This trend follows throughout the album, as it is not as heavy as Sirens of the Ditch or Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit but nonetheless to your liking. Other standouts include the up-tempo “Go It Alone” and “Stopping By.”
With war being geographically relevant, Isbell revisits the military theme in “Tour of Duty” as he has done in the past with tracks like “Dress Blues.”
Through each track, Isbell associates the importance of the South’s contributions while blending the Muscle Shoals sound along with a Nashville and Memphis influence.
Isbell has harvested much approval with his latest endeavor as he just wrapped up performances at the South By Southwest Music Conference and has received praise from Rolling Stone and GQ recently.
With a spring tour beginning on April 8, the group will hit a few dates in the Southeast before stopping in Nashville, Tenn. on April 16. While in town, they will perform at Grimey’s record shop as part of the Record Store Day celebration and will have a nightcap at The 5 Spot. For more information, visit www.jasonisbell.com.