Music Review : Jason Isbell Southeastern
Please welcome my husband, Randy (otherwise known as Slocum). He’s our resident bar-b-que, music, and college football connoisseur. Today he’s sharing about one of his favorite artists, Jason Isbell and the album Southeastern. Take it away, Randy!
Jason Isbell’s 2013 album Southeastern is my favorite album of the last few years and perhaps front to back the best album I’ve ever listened to. Southeastern has been in the top of my rotation for 10 months and I still cant stop listening. At first I thought ‘these songs sound incredible,’ then I thought ‘oh my did he sing what I thought he sang?’
The lyrics are a stark, shockingly honest view of human nature and the world as it is, contrasted with the redeeming power in relationship elegantly painted on a canvas of classic country/southern rock/acoustic melodies. It’s dark but oddly comforting. Southeastern makes you think and feel on a level that you don’t expect and you’re not quite ready for. But, maybe it’s time some new music helps us think and feel, to hope and mourn.
The combination of the lyrics, instrumentation, voices and phrasing are genius. The lines are magnificent:
“I made it through ’cause somebody knew I was meant for someone.” (from “Cover Me Up”)
“I know every town worth passing through but what good does knowing do with no one to show it to.” (from “Traveling Alone”)
“… cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good.” (from “Cover Me Up”)
“… no one dies with dignity. We just try to ignore the elephants somehow.” (from “Elephant”)
“Pardon holds no trace of sorrow for the bitter and the burned.” (from “New South Wales”)
In context Southeastern is a work of art. Well done, Mr. Isbell.
Here are a few favorite videos of Jason Isbell performing songs from the album Southeastern:
I love the conviction he performs with in this Austin City Limits version of “Cover Me Up”.
That’s right man. It is worth fighting for.
“Flying Over Water” on Conan:
And a nice acoustic version of “Stockholm”:
I hope you enjoy this album from Jason Isbell as much as I do.
***Do be aware, this album contains strong language and dark subject matter.