Jason Isbell: Turning Life Into Rock
Kicking back in the small Alabama town he calls home, Southern rocker Jason Isbell has heard plenty of stories about life going wrong. Being the musician he is, the former member of Drive-By Truckers turned those tales of woe into the songs on Here We Rest, his new album. Being the rock 'n' roller he is, Isbell has a heap of fun in the process — most notably in "Never Could Believe," about a "lady from Tennessee" who "just packed a bag and left with me passed out." To make matters worse, he "never could believe a word that come from her mouth."
Despite the sad turn of events, Isbell and his band, The 400 Unit, give "Never Could Believe" a swinging and defiant mood. The song's opening salvos are fired by a drummer who sounds as if he must have four hands to get such a big, brash sound. Then Isbell slides in, fingers creating fuzzed-up guitar lines and vocal cords unleashing a sweet and mellow tenor. A piano's striding octaves and upbeat chords add to the party vibe. At the song's end, Isbell lets his guitar do the talking with a rueful series of staticky burps — his kiss-off, no doubt, to that no-good prevaricating lover.
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