Flyinshoes Review

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JASON ISBELL And The 400 UNIT —the Nashville Sound (South Eastern Records / Thirty Tigers)

http://www.jasonisbell.com

 

Americana singer-songwriter Jason Isbell’s (formerly of the band, Drive-By-Truckers) music is presently at a peak you don’t want him to lose sight of. If a change were to take place it would only be for him to sound even better. On the rocking “Cumberland Gap” he gives the band its head, and though on first hearing I wasn’t too sure I have since taken to it. Big time. The song speaks of the hold of the Cumberland Gap has on people and in dictating lives. It follows the killer tune “Last Of My Kind”, the simplicity and plaintive feel buries itself into ones subconscious as he tells a few stories of how the road of life can be hard. He tackles more than just a few problems on life during the course of the album, and they real truths!  

You can’t help but be impressed by the beauty of his slow paced ballads, as a series of heavenly nuances ensue. Dave Cobb is the producer, and the album was recorded at RCA’s “Nashville Sound” studio. Both Isbell and the producer put their notable experience to good use as a wealth of good stuff to savour spill forth. As in “Tupelo”, “White Man’s World” and, with his wife, fiddle playing vocalist Amanda Shires lending her sweet voice to his “If We Were Vampires”. The song speaks of growing old, and how one of them will inevitably spend some time alone. Since one will leave this world before the other.

 

Going back to “White Man’s World”, here you have a song reflecting on him living in one, and how despite the relatively short history the mould seems to have been made. Gritty ode “Anxiety” is a relentless hard edged piece, and with lyrics and instrumental input stout and unbending it speaks of how it can be hard to live with. “Molotov” is another that has Isbell reflect on (troubled) days past. Remember he has seen some tough times(and lost the tread), and lost his job with the Drive-By-Truckers when he strayed. “Chaos And Clothes” opens like it was something Simon and Garfunkle might have once done, so simple and gentle you have little but acoustic guitar and a coercing rhythm. On picking up the tempo and giving his music and players Derry de Borja (keyboards), Chad Gamble (drums), Jimbo Hart (bass), Sadler Vaden (electric guitar) and Shires (strings, harmony vocals) plus his own electric, acoustic guitar lay down a strong tune. On closing with “Something To Love” he ensures the listener is left with a beautiful sound and pleasing set of story-telling in their ears when the needle lifts to place itself on its place of rest. Not only is the melody beautiful one but also his voice and that of Shires are as near to perfection as you will get. The Nashville Sound is set to be one of my top five albums of the year, and possibly yours too. 

 

                                                      Maurice Hope 

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1
Rod Picott
70 pts.
Out Past The Wires
Welding Rod Music
GC,AN,LM,SZ,TK
2
JW Roy & The Royal Family
62 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,PJ,DH
3
Steph Cameron
61 pts.
Daybreak over Jackson Street
Pheromona
ML
4
JD McPherson
54 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
AR,RK,LK
5
Sarah Morris
53 pts.
Hearts In Need Of Repair
Independent
 
6
Turnpike Troubadours
52 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
MA,GF
7
Chris Hillman
51 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
 
8
Hayward Williams
39 pts.
Pretenders
Why River Records
KG,JB,JBO
9
Joe Henry
38 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
 
10
Jim White
37 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
JJ
12
Margo Price
35 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
 
11
Mark Martyre
35 pts.
Rivers
Independent
MF
13
Mavis Staples
32 pts.
If All I Was Was Black
Anti
HO
 
Peter Oren
32 pts.
Anthropocene
Western Vinyl
RB,HB
15
Fred Wickham
29 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
 
16
Jeffrey Martin
27 pts.
One Go Around
Fluff & Gravy Records
HDB
17
Blitzen Trapper
25 pts.
Wild and Reckless
Lojinx
JDO
 
Jeff Crosby
25 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records
FCE,FC,JS
19
Dori Freeman
24 pts.
Letters Never Read
Blue Hens Music
 
 
Hardpan
24 pts.
Hardpan
Blue Rose Records
WR
21
The Deep Dark Woods
21 pts.
Yarrow
Six Shooter
JF
22
Lilly Hiatt
20 pts.
Trinity Lane
New West
TJ
 
Tom Russell
20 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
JAB
24
Eilen Jewell
19 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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