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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November 2017

1
JW Roy & The Royal Family
80 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,BH,RST,LK
2
Chris Hillman
79 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
BP,FS,HD
3
Turnpike Troubadours
46 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
HM,TK
4
Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton
36 pts.
Wildflower Blues
Cinquefoil Records
TJ
5
Eilen Jewell
34 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
 
6
Lucinda Williams
31 pts.
This Sweet Old World
Highway 20/Thirty Tigers
BR,MW
7
JD McPherson
29 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
JS
8
Mark Martyre
26 pts.
Rivers
Independent
FC
 
Tom Russell
26 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
SP
10
Anna Tivel
25 pts.
Small Believer
Fluff And Gravy Records
MG
 
Margo Price
25 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
JB
12
Fred Wickham
22 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
RK
 
Joe Henry
22 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
HVB,PJ
 
Whitney Rose
22 pts.
Rule 62
Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers
 
15
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
HDB,JJ
 
Jim White
18 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
LM,SZ
 
Peter Gallway
18 pts.
Feels Like Religion
Gallway Bay Music
CVL,DHO
18
Thomm Jutz
17 pts.
Crazy If You Let It
Mountain Fever Records
 
19
Kris Delmhorst
16 pts.
The Wild
Blue Blade Records
 
20
Daniel Crabtree
15 pts.
In The Shadow Of His Wings
Independent
 
 
Jeremy Pinnell
15 pts.
Ties Of Blood And Affection
Sofaburn Records
 
 
Julien Baker
15 pts.
Turn Out The Lights
Matador
EZ
23
Amber Cross
14 pts.
Savage on the Downhill
Independent
 
 
Chris Blevins
14 pts.
Better than Alone
Horton Records
 
 
David Rawlings
14 pts.
Poor David's Almanack
Acony Records
 
 
Grainne Duffy
14 pts.
Where I Belong
Independent
GC,RW
 
Jeff Crosby
14 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records

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