The New Record You Need To Hear – Jason Isbell ‘Southeastern’
Every now and again a record comes along that alters your musical landscape a little bit. The kind of record that opens your ears to a whole new way of listening to music.
For me right now, that record is Southeastern from Jason Isbell.
Isbell grew up in Greenhill, AL near music hotspot Muscle Shoals. He cut his teeth playing guitar and sharing vocals in the modern southern rock band Drive-By Truckers. The two parted ways in 2007. Isbell then put out a few records both solo and with his new outfit The 400 Unit and started generating buzz as a songwriter and performer.
Then came the gamechanger. On June 11, 2013 he released his second solo release Southeastern. Upon it’s arrival into the music world, critics immediatly picked it up, listened to it, but seemed to have a hard time finding anything bad to say about it.
Country superstar Miranda Lambert even gave it an ear and a promo Tweet!
— Miranda Lambert (@mirandalambert) June 18, 2013
Southeastern debuted on the Billboard album charts at number 2, just one position behind Lady Antebellum’s Golden, now in its seventh week on the chart.
From beginning to end, Isbell pines his way through 10 hauntingly beautiful county-tinged ballads and 2 straightforward rockers. Sharing emotions that fans may not have seen in this light before.
My favorites on the album (if I have to choose) are first and foremost, ‘Elephant’. A poignantly beautiful ballad of a man’s friendship with a terminally ill woman and the lengths they go to trying to “ignore the elephant” in the room. Easily one of the most well-written songs, lyrically, I’ve ever heard.
Next on my list is ‘Different Days’. Musically soothing and deeply personal this track sees the writer reflecting on his existence, newfound sobriety and a wild life that once was.
I’ll finish with telling you my thoughts on ‘Relatively Easy’ the last track on the record. He sings, “… and here with you there’s always something to look forward to. Our angry heart beats relatively easy”. Here again Isbell is wearing his emotions on his sleeve and aurally delivering insight into the fact that mistakes are okay as long as you learn from them and turn that experience into something positive.
So without hesitation, if you like music and appreciate the art of songwriting, then I have to recommend Jason Isbell’s Southeastern. I would also tell the country purist and new country kids alike to please spend some time with this one. You cannot and must not deny great music.
Take a listen to ‘Relatively Easy’ here…