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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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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