One of the best new albums of the year comes out today from emerging singer-songwriter Jason Isbell. He's had a successful career to this point, but his re-birth over his last two albums has been nothing short of extraordinary.
That's not to say his work in Drive-By Truckers or solo with the 400 Unit isn't as good. His latest efforts, though, show a man re-born with a fresh perspective on life. Much of his evolution tracks back to February 2012, when his manager, soon to be wife Amanda Shires, and Ryan Adams confronted him about an issue that has affected many great musicians: substance abuse. He went to rehab and returned with a new stable of songs for Southeastern, including "Stockholm".
Now comes "Something More Than Free" with subtle lyrics dealing with many of the emotions of being a progressive man from the south. He sings about concepts of freedom and identity, themes not only from his new life but also much of the discourse in the US over the last year. His music comes out as genre bending but unique. Not quite Americana, not quite rock, he melds a sound that connects directly to his lyrics. "24 Frames" is just one of the tracks that encapsulates this blend.
With a new album, a new baby due in Septemeber, and a new look at life, we'll see how continues to grow as a musician and songwriter in the coming years.
See Jason as he performs live when KCSN Presents him at The Wiltern on August 12th. Click here to purchase tickets.