Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free – 2015

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With the critical success of Southeastern, Jason Isbell’s freshly sober 2013 album, it was inevitable that close attention would be paid to Something More Than Free. With this release, it’s safe to say that Jason Isbell has ‘made it’. The long-time cult darling became a critical darling, and with appearances on CBS Sunday Morning and Conan the critical darling is soon to become a mainstream one. But how would Isbell approach the magnifying glass that he was now under, the larger stages he was set to take?

Isbell’s approach to Something More Than Free is emblematic of the profound love of life he professed on Southeastern. It is at the same time fresh and carefully crafted: these are not songs for Jason Isbell, or songs for people who have been following Isbell since he was in his early twenties. These songs are for anyone who happens to hear them.

Though the 400 Unit, Isbell’s band, was featured on Southeastern they have a bigger role to play in Something More Than Free. The sound is warmer, fuller- building to crescendos and subtly reinforcing melodies with equal ease. These songs were carefully crafted by the band in the studio, aided by producer David Cobb (who worked on Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in addition to Southeastern), months before they were ever played live. Though there’s plenty of Isbell’s acoustic guitar, when you close your eyes and listen to the music you can almost see Gamble behind his drums nodding along, Hart grinning behind his bass, Vaden soloing with one foot on an amplifier, and Derry DeBorja hunched over his keys. This group of musicians have put in the work, and the craftsmanship of this album sounds effortless.

Most of Something More Than Free could play on the radio, with earnest everyman charm and eminently hummable music. The album opens with the chipper “If It Takes A Lifetime”, about a man who spent much of his life going full-throttle down the wrong path before sobering up and trying to get it together. No, it’s not about Isbell’s rock and roll past, but about a blue collar worker looking philosophically at the kind of man he wants to be, even if it takes him a lifetime to get there. These everyman (and everywoman) themes permeate the album: Isbell takes his talent for turning his insides out and applies it to the human condition at large. Whether you were in a cult-favorite rock band or staying put in your hometown, a crash and burn still feels like a crash and burn and getting your head right feels like waking up from fitful sleep. The glue that holds this record together is grit. Something More Than Free is Americana at its greatest: unifying, earnest, compassionate, and catchy as hell.

Something More Than Free is a collection of stories about people bearing down and doing what they need to do. “Flagship”, a quiet song featuring Amanda Shires singing with her husband, is about love’s desperate need to remain vital and sincere, the constant work needed to avoid stagnation and resentment. “Hudson Commodore” and “Children of Children” are both about the trials and tribulations of motherhood, about as serious and difficult an endeavor as any.

“I was riding on my mother’s hip, she was shorter than the corn

And all the years I took from her, just by being born”

The anchor of the record is the title track, a plainspoken and sincere ballad. “I don’t think on why I’m here or where it hurts/I’m just lucky to have the work” How many men and women have these thoughts or impulses, the knowledge that forward motion and doing their jobs are what they must do, their own personal form of worship to whatever powers may or may not exist? These people are the lifeblood of this country, of every country, and Isbell has written them a song without either patronizing them or pandering to them. Think of what is being glorified, what is being worshipped, on most songs played on the radio. How many of them feature lyrics as concrete s and uplifting as “My back is numb, my hands are freezing/What I’m working for is something more than free”

The record closes with “To A Band That I Loved”, a love letter to Centro-Matic. Centro-Matic was a band’s band who decided to amicably break up last year. They were an inspiration to many artists that we favor here at 9b; Glossary played their Nashville farewell show. Centro-Matic never appeared on network morning shows, was never featured in Rolling Stone. They worked hard, putting out 11 albums. They inspired musicians in general and Isbell specifically; when he was younger he played guitar with the band from time to time. His relationship with the band obviously affected him greatly, and their decision to leave the rock and roll life behind is a stark reminder that everything comes to an end. It’s what you do along the way that matters.

“Somehow I’m still out here burning my days

Your voice makes the miles melt away

I’ll be guarding your place in the lights on the stage in my heart

I guess we’re all still finding our part”

While Southeastern was a declaration of self, Something More Than Free feels like a declaration of purpose. Isbell is no longer an out of control youth, full of talent and wild energy, but this is not “A Study In Sobriety, Part 2”. Now he is a purposeful and determined man, setting about his work with precision and style in equal amounts. He focuses on his own feelings rather than in his own experience and has resolved to write music for people as purposeful and dedicated as himself, regardless of their circumstances or their place on their path. Working for the county, driving a cab, raising children, or singing for a living, we’re all still finding our part.

Something More Than Free is Essential Listening.

Pick it up on iTunes, Amazon, or a physical copy from Jason’s website.

 

Former And Current 9B Editors on the Radio

Our very own Wolf was on the radio with former 9B writer and editor Charles Hale this week and this is what it sounded like:

Benchmarks – “American Night” – American Night
Two Cow Garage – “Continental Distance” – Continental Distance
Benjamin Booker – “Have You Seen My Son?” – Benjamin Booker
Adam Faucett – “Rock Ain’t Gold” – Blind Water Finds Blind Water
Gaslight Anthem – “Lonesome Sound” – The ’59 Sound
Kill County – “Straight Six Ford” – The Year Of Getting By
Michael Dean Damron – “Dancing In The Moonlight” – Father’s Day
Shane Sweeney – “Motel Blues” – The Finding Time
Robert Chaney – “The Morning After” – Cracked Picture Frames
Tim Barry – “No News From the North” – Lost & Rootless
Jason Isbell – “Something More Than Free” – Something More Than Free
Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil – “Waiting On You” – Catch the Presidents
Tyler Childers – “Charleston Girl” – Live At The Red Barn Vol. 1
Aaron Lee Tasjan – “Santa Monica & Vine” – The Thinking Man’s Filth
Arliss Nancy – “Front Seat” – Simple Machines
Langhorne Slim & The Law – “Past lives” – The Way We Move
Lilly Hiatt – “Jesus Would’ve Let Me Pick the Restaurant” – Royal Blue
The Killers – “Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf” – Sawdust
Against Me! – “F*** My Life 666” – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Austin Lucas – “Alone in Memphis” – Stay Reckless
John Moreland – “Sad Baptist Rain” – High On Tulsa Heat
Barton Carroll – “Every Little Bit Hurts” – Avery County, I’m Bound To You
Jamestown Revival – “revival” – Utah
Matt Woods – “Beating Down My Door” – Matt Woods Manifesto
Cory Branan – “No Hit Wonder” – No Hit Wonder
Glossary – “At midnight” – How We Handle Our Midnights
Lucero – “Hearts On Fire” – Live DVD
Drive By Truckers – “Daddy’s Cup” – The Dirty South
Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires – “Dirt Track” – A Live Show

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit this was an excuse to post Charles’ podcast because it completely rocks and he’s pretty damn awesome. I know I miss his voice in the background of things around here. I’ve added his podcast to “Sites We Read” and hopefully you’ll all subscribe to it. There’s a lot worse things you could do with your time.

Jason Isbell talks about his Sad Bastardness….

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One of my favorite pastimes is getting drunk at home alone while listening to Jason Isbell albums. Another one of my favorite past times is doing that exact same thing with other people and talking with them about the songs and their meanings. I was so happy to see this post show up yesterday as it proved I was not alone in this past time.

The folks at Grantland sat down with Jason recently to talk about his 10 most gut wrenching songs (including his DBT era). It’s a fun read and I ain’t mad about the omission of Dress Blues since it’s so damned obvious.

Jason’s new album, Something More Than Free, comes out July 17 and if Southeastern is any indicator we’re in for a monster.

Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free – Pre-Order

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So many pre-orders happening! Jason Isbell‘s new album comes out July 17th, and with a pre-order over at iTunes you can listen to “24 Frames” and the title track “Something More Than Free” right away. You can also check them out over on Spotify.

Jason certainly doesn’t need help scrounging up buzz for the album, but these songs are just as good as any he’s ever written. The title track specifically is a truly country song, the kind you don’t hear on the radio anymore…but you might if Isbell gets as big as we all hope.

[Playlist] Ninebullets Radio – 09.20.2014 – 88.5FM WMNF Tampa

We did the damn thing. If you wanna hear it, put your ears on the archive of the show.

Below is the playlist for September 20, 2014 [Artist – Song (Album)]

01. Drive-By Truckers – Zip City (Southern Rock Opera)
02. Jason Isbell – Cover Me Up (Southeastern)
03. Parker Millsap – Old Time Religion (Parker Millsap)
04. Otis Gibbs – The Darker Side Of Me (Souvenirs Of A Misspent Youth)
05. Two Cow Garage – Swingset Assassin (Speaking In Cursive)
06. Have Gun Will Travel – Take Me Home, Alice (Fiction, Fact or Folktale!)
07. The Takers – Friends in Bottles (Taker Easy)
08. Matt Woods – Deadman’s Blues (With Love From Brushy Mountain)
09. Big Shoals – 12 Steps (Still Go On)
10. American Aquarium – Burn. Flicker. Die. (Burn. Flicker. Die.)
11. Will Quinlan and The Diviners – Acrimony Blues (Navasota)
12. Sturgill Simpson – The Promise (Metamodern Sounds In Country Music)
13. Arlo McKinely & The Lonesome Sound – Sad Country Song (Arlo McKinely & The Lonesome Sound)
14. Kierston White – Love Songs (Don’t Write Love Songs)
15. Chuck Ragan – Vagabond (Till Midnight)
16. Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil – She Has Her Moments (Catch The Presidents)
17. McDougall – Ready, Begin (A Few Towns More)
18. John Mellencamp – The Brass Ring (Plain Spoken)
19. Willie Nelson – The Songwriters (Band Of Brothers)
20. John Moreland – Gospel (In The Throes)
21. Nikki Lane – Right Time (All Or Nothin’)
22. The Wind + The Wave – From The Wreckage Build A Home (From The Wreckage)
23. Hiss Golden Messenger – Southern Grammar (Lateness of Dancers)
24. Ben Stalets – Don’t Call Me Lonely (Dear Golden)
25. David Mayfield – Rain On My Parade (Strangers)
26. Becky Warren – Off My Back (The Iraq EP)
27. Adult Boys Thunderband – Mothers Love Me (Abducted Again)

Bold = Request

Ninebullets Radio on Facebook
You can stream Ninebullets Radio here
You can download Ninebullets Radio here: Hour 1 / Hour 2
If you like Ninebullets Radio please drop a 5 spot in the Tip Jar.

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 193: aired 09.20.2014

[Playlist] Ninebullets Radio – 09.06.2014 – 88.5FM WMNF Tampa

We did the damn thing. If you wanna hear it, put your ears on the archive of the show.

Below is the playlist for September 06, 2014 [Artist – Song (Album)]

01. Frank Turner – I Still Believe (England Keep My Bones)
02. Chuck Ragan – Vagabond (Till Midnight)
03. Cory Branan – Sour Mash (The No-Hit Wonder)
04. Tyler Childers and High Wall – Deadman’s Curve (Live At Red Barn Radio)
05. Justin Townes Earle – Wanna Be A Stranger (Single Mothers)
06. Chris Knight – Down the River (A Pretty Good Guy)
07. Joe Sundell – Mr. Z (The Hat Thief)
08. Joe Pug – Downbound Train (Deadman’s Town: A Tribute To Born In The USA)
09. Valerie June – Workin’ Woman Blues (Pushin’ Against A Stone)
10. Jason Isbell – Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings (Beck’s Song Reader)
11. The Decemberists – Rox In The Box (The King Is Dead)
12. Benjamin Booker – Wicked Waters (Benjamin Booker)
13. The Gaslight Anthem – Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (Get Hurt)
14. Matt Woods – Ain’t No Living (With Love From Brushy Mountain)
15. The Takers – Friends in Bottles (Taker Easy)
16. Big Shoals – 12 Steps (Still Go On)
17. American Gun – Rock and Roll Won (Promised Youth)
18. Pine Hill Haints – Galaxy Buffalo (The Magik Sounds Of The Pine Hill Haints)
19. Dos Ringos – Long Time (Dos Ringos)
20. Lucero – I’ll Just Fall (Live From Atlanta)
21. The Wind + The Wave – Raising Hands Raising Hell Raise ‘Em High (From The Wreckage)
22. David Mayfield – Rain On My Parade (Strangers)
23. John Moreland – Blacklist (In The Throes)
24. Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound – This Damn Town (Self-Titled)
25. Snakehealers – Roadside (Cure All)
26. Shooter Jennings – Don’t Wait Up (I’m Playin’ Possum) (Don’t Wait Up For George)
27. Justin Payne – Gettin’ By (No Place Lower Than High)
28. Whitey Morgan and the 78’s – I Ain’t Drunk (Whitey Morgan and the 78’s)
29. William Elliot Whitmore – Johnny Law (Animals In The Dark)

Bold = Request

Ninebullets Radio on Facebook
You can stream Ninebullets Radio here
You can download Ninebullets Radio here: Hour 1 / Hour 2
If you like Ninebullets Radio please drop a 5 spot in the Tip Jar.

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 191: aired 09.06.2014

[Playlist] Ninebullets Radio – 08.30.2014 – 88.5FM WMNF Tampa

We did the damn thing. If you wanna hear it, put your ears on the archive of the show.

Below is the playlist for August 30, 2014 [Artist – Song (Album)]

01. John Anderson – Seminole Wind (Seminole Wind)
02. Brad Paisley – You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive (Part II)
03. Big Shoals – 12 Steps (Still Go On)
04. Todd May – Mercy (Rickenbacker Girls)
05. Chris Knight – Enough Rope (Enough Rope)
06. Otis Gibbs – The Darker Side Of Me (Souvenirs Of A Misspent Youth)
07. Tyler Childers and High Wall – Deadman’s Curve (Live At Red Barn Radio)
08. Lucero – The War (Live From Atlanta)
09. Justin Townes Earle – Lone Pine Hill (The Good Life)
10. Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound – This Damn Town (Self-titled)
11. Jason Isbell – Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings (Beck’s Song Reader)
12. The Northerners – Don’t Play (The Northerners EP)
13. Shovels & Rope – evil (Swimmin’ Time)
14. Shooter Jennings – Don’t Wait Up (I’m Playin’ Possum) (Don’t Wait Up For George)
15. Sturgill Simpson – Living The Dream (Metamodern Sounds In Country Music)
16. Willie Nelson – Hard to Be an Outlaw (Band Of Brothers)
17. Cory Branan – Sour Mash (The No-Hit Wonder)
18. Becky Warren – Off My Back (The Iraq EP)
19. Nikki Lane – Wild One (All Or Nothin’)
20. Matt Woods – Ain’t No Living (With Love From Brushy Mountain)
21. Mojo Gurus – No Damn Good (Who Ask’d Ya?)
22. Mojo Gurus – The Last Rock n’ Roll Show (Who Ask’d Ya?)
23. Mojo Gurus – Where You Hiding Your Love (Who Ask’d Ya?)
24. Glossary – Little Caney (The Better Angels Of Our Nature)
25. NQ Arbuckle – Hospitals
26. Benjamin Booker – Wicked Waters (self-titled)
27. FSU Marching Chiefs – FSU War Chant

Bold = Request

Ninebullets Radio on Facebook
You can stream Ninebullets Radio here
You can download Ninebullets Radio here: Hour 1 / Hour 2
If you like Ninebullets Radio please drop a 5 spot in the Tip Jar.

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 190: aired 08.30.2014

[Playlist] Ninebullets Radio – 08.23.2014 – 88.5FM WMNF Tampa

We did the damn thing. If you wanna hear it, put your ears on the archive of the show.

Below is the playlist for August 23, 2014 [Artist – Song (Album)]

01. Drive-By Truckers – Where The Devil Don’t Stay (The Dirty South)
02. Otis Gibbs – With A Gun In My Hand (Souvenirs Of A Misspent Youth)
03. John R Miller – M.O.T.E. (Service Engine)
04. Becky Warren – Off My Back (The Iraq EP)
05. Tompall Glaser – T for Texas (Wanted! The Outlaws)
06. Waylon Jennings/Willie Nelson – Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To be Cowboys (Waylon & Willie)
07. Hank Williams, Jr. – A Country Boy Can Survive (Greatest Hits)
08. The Charlie Daniels Band – Long Haired Country Boy (Fire On The Mountain)
09. The Marshall Tucker Band – Fire On The Mountain (Searchin’ For A Rainbow)
10. Have Gun Will Travel – High Road (Fiction, Fact or Folktale?)
11. Willie Nelson – Hard to Be an Outlaw (Band Of Brothers)
12. Sturgill Simpson – Living The Dream (Metamodern Sounds In Country Music)
13. The Whiskey Gentry – Dixie (Holly Grove)
14. Joe Sundell – Mr. Z (The Hat Thief)
15. The Northerners – Don’t Play (The Northerners EP)
16. The Wind + The Wave – Raising Hands Raising Hell Raise ‘Em High (From The Wreckage)
17. Lucero – Women & Work (Live From Atlanta)
18. Matt Woods – Lucero Song (With Love From Brushy Mountain)
19. American Aquarium – Cape Fear River (Burn.Flicker.Die)
20. Parker Millsap – Truck Stop Gospel (Parker Millsap)
21. Old Crow Medicine Show – Tennessee Bound (Remedy)
22. NQ Arbuckle – Hospitals (The Future Happens Anyway)
23. Cory Branan – The Only You (The No-Hit Wonder)
24. Jason Isbell – Try (Sirens of The Ditch)
25. Benjamin Booker – Wicked Waters (Benjamin Booker)
26. First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Stay Gold)
27. Ben Knight and The Welldiggers – Iceman’s Lament (Divining Rod)
28. The Holy Ghost Electric Show – Surprise (The Great American Holy Ghost Electric Show)
29. Andrew Combs – Month Of Bad Habits
30. Roadkill Ghost Choir – Down & Out

Bold = Request

Ninebullets Radio on Facebook
You can stream Ninebullets Radio here
You can download Ninebullets Radio here: Hour 1 / Hour 2
If you like Ninebullets Radio please drop a 5 spot in the Tip Jar.

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 188: aired 08.23.2014

[Playlist] Ninebullets Radio – 08.16.2014 – 88.5FM WMNF Tampa

Local talent and female fronted bands are heavily featured on this show. Some other bad ass shit too so put your ears on the archive of the show.

Below is the playlist for August 0916, 2014 [Artist – Song (Album)]

01. Drag The River – Old Sad Songs
02. Valerie June – Workin’ Woman Blues (Pushin’ Against A Stone)
03. Becky Warren – Off My Back (The Iraq EP)
04. Kierston White – Alcohol (Don’t Write Love Songs)
05. Lucero – Drink Till We’re Gone (Live From Atlanta)
06. Big Shoals – Skipping Stones (Still Go On)
07. Joseph Huber – Two Tongued Swear (The Hanging Road)
08. Willie Nelson – Hard to Be an Outlaw (Band Of Brothers)
09. Jason Isbell – Elephant (Southeastern)
10. Andrew Combs – Month Of Bad Habits
11. John R Miller – M.O.T.E. (Service Engine)
12. Matt Woods – Sunshine (Broken Strings & Beer Specials)
13. American Aquarium – Casualties (Burn.Flicker.Die)
14. The Wind + The Wave – Raising Hands Raising Hell Raise ‘Em High (From The Wreckage)
15. St. Paul and the Broken Bones – Half the City (Half The City)
16. Nikki Lane – Right Time (All Or Nothin’)
17. NQ Arbuckle – Hospitals (Future Happens Anyway)
18. The Gaslight Anthem – Rollin’ & Tumblin’ (Get Hurt)
19. The Holy Ghost Electric Show – Surprise (The Great American Holy Ghost Electric Show)
20. Glossary – save your money for the weekend (Feral Fire)
21. Those Crosstown Rivals – Six Strings (Hell and Back)
22. Arliss Nancy – Troubadour (Wild American Runners)
23. Benjamin Booker – Wicked Waters (Benjamin Booker)
24. The Woolly Bushmen – Screamin’ ana’ Shoutin’ (Sky Bosses)
25. Dos Ringos – Long Time (Dos Ringos)
26. John Moreland – Gospel (In The Throes)
27. Micah Schnabel – American Static (When The Stage Lights Dim)
28. Roadkill Ghost Choir – Down & Out
29. Sturgill Simpson – Living The Dream (Metamodern Sounds In Country Music)
30. Parker Millsap – Truck Stop Gospel (Parker Millsap)

Bold = Request

Ninebullets Radio on Facebook
You can stream Ninebullets Radio here
You can download Ninebullets Radio here: Hour 1 / Hour 2
If you like Ninebullets Radio please drop a 5 spot in the Tip Jar.

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 188: aired 08.16.2014