Wednesday, June 12, 2013


One word: Fan-F'ing-Tastic. Just when you thought 2011's Here We Rest couldn't be topped. If Outfit or Decoration Day was Jason Isbell's most significant song during his Drive-By Truckers days, then the opening Cover Me Up, describing his newfound sobriety, his new love, and his new lease on life, is his most important, solo. This time he's without his backing group, 400 Unit, so the music's less hard-rocking, but despite the more sparse instrumentation, there's still a strong focus on hooky melodies and arrangements, which Isbell always had an extreme talent for. Not to mention his ever-expanding vocal ability. And then there's the remarkable songwriting, which is the reason why I keep coming back to him. Oh Lord, it's as raw and honest as anything I could've ever imagined. Southeastern is an incredibly personal record; real naked stuff. It's almost his Blood On The Tracks. It also reminds me a lot of Bruce's Tunnel Of Love and Nebraska, a lyrical masterclass in the joys and frailties of human relationships and also the stories of tragic people leading tragic lives, respectively. Isbell is already up there with guys like Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley. And like them, he's only concerned with making music that's real and from the heart, that's why he can never get mass, worldwide appeal in this day and age.