Admittedly, I am a casual Drive By Truckers listener. I know about Patterson and Isbell, and I do enjoy their music. I have been to shows, and I have all their albums (via Spotify), but they have never made a dent in my rotation. While this may not be relevant, it’s important to bring this up before I start talking about Jason Isbell’s new album “Something More Than Free”.
Jason Isbell released “Southeastern” in mid 2013, and it took about a week to be proclaimed the best album of the year. I 100% agreed, and this is coming from said non-DBT guy. I was blow away by the honesty, the grit, and the feeling of that record. At this point I know all the words, and still listen to it quite a bit. I saw Isbell twice on the “Southeastern” tour, and regard his live performances as a reflection of his talent as an artist and songwriter.
“Something More Than Free” picks up right where “Southeastern” left off. It checks all the boxes. I listened to the album three times last Friday, and it got better each spin. Isbell seems to feel much more comfortable in his own skin on “Something More Than Free”. The bookends have been widened a bit since “Southeastern”, as evidence by a little more country and a little more rock. The album has a great feel; the gritty, melodic Isbell sound that is like a pair of old boots and jeans. Lyrically it’s as good as any of his previous stuff – unexpected but very honest. In time, I believe this album will go down as better than “Southeastern”, but only because of a more general appeal.
Appropriate Listening When:
- Driving home from work.
- Cooking out.
- Working on Powerpoint presentations.
Elevator Speech: “If you liked “Southeastern”, you’ll love “Something More Than Free”. Between Isbell and Sturgill, there might be hope for modern country music…
What do you think?