Friday, August 23, 2019

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound (2017)

Labeling Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit's latest album as Americana, suits The Nashville Sound quite well. It's a rock record with a lot of acoustic touches - many by Isbell's wife, fiddle player Amanda Shires, who has her own successful career - but it never quite crosses the line into pure country, except for the outstanding closer, "Something To Love."

While all of the music here is very listenable it's the songwriting that makes this disc stand out. As always, Isbell is a thoughtful and introspective composer.

"If We Were Vampires" is an acoustic ballad that discusses death and life after one half of a couple passes. He sings, "....this can't go on forever. Likely one of us will have to spend some days alone. Maybe we'll get forty years together, But one day I'll be gone, Or one day you'll be gone" and "If we were vampires and death was a joke we'd go out on the sidewalk and smoke...."

On the uplifting "Something To Love" Isbell advises, "Just find what makes you happy girl and do it 'til you're gone."

"White Man's World," finds the former Drive-By Trucker confessing, "There's no such thing as someone else's war," while admitting he should have done more to help the causes of those who need assistance.

Both the beginning and ending of "Anxiety" are pure hard rock passages propelled by heavy, electric guitars, but if hooks are what you're looking for you may find "Molotov" and "Cumberland Gap" more to your liking.

The Nashville Sound is a varied, ten song set, no two tracks sound alike, so it never gets stale. Great writing, an excellent band, and very good singing don't often find each other but on this album everything connects.

Related websites:
Jason Isbell
Drive-By Truckers
Amanda Shires
The Highwomen

1 comment:

  1. I listen to very little country/folk but I love this album.....thanks!