I just got Jason Isbell’s new album Southeastern and I’m very impressed. Isbell was drunk for a great portion of his career, drinking hard every night on stage with the Drive-By Truckers. He wrote some incredible songs while with that band. I remember talking with my doctor about Drive By Truckers. He’s a great doctor and I generally end up spending more time talking about music rather than physical ailments. Anyway I remember his saying how Isbell couldn’t stay in the band too long because one band couldn’t hold that much talent. He was right. Outfit is just an outstanding bit of songwriting.
Isbell’s wive got him into rehab and his new album is fairly stark compared to his previous solo work. That’s not to say that sobriety has dampened his creativity. It hasn’t and he deals with some of the issues he was going with head on in the lyrics on several of the songs on Southeastern. Do not get the idea that the album is a rehab glorification or an AA training manual put to music. It is not.Supre 8 is a great Honky tonk rocker about not wanting to die in a Super 8 Motel.
The album features one of the best sad songs I’ve heard in a long while, Elephant. It is the story of a man and woman dealing with or rather not dealing with her cancer. Very sad with one F-bomb in there. Just a warning to those easily offended.
To change the mood following Elephant, here’s Super 8.
Apparently Jason has been listening to a lot of Tom T. Hall records. Kinky Friedman once said of Tom T., “I love all his songs and both his melodies.” Tom might not have been a musical genius, but he could write a no nonsense story song like few people’s business. I first heard Scott Miller cover “How I Got to Memphis” when he was singing with the V-Roys back in the early 90’s.