Jason Isbell posted an outtake from the A Blessing and A Curse studio sessions on his myspace profile yesterday. I can certainly see why the track did not make the final tracklisting. Seemingly more Black Rebel Motorcycle Club than Drive-by Truckers it offers a drastic departure from the familiar DBT sound. I wonder if this type of sound will make an appearance on Jason’s next studio effort. I must admit, I hope so.
Designated Driver. Music to my ears when the show is across the bridge. The wife volunteered to do the driving duties, so I broke the seal on a bottle of Beam early for this show. Gone solo or not, Isbell, in my opinion, is still part of the Trucker family and half a bottle deep is the best way to start a night at the rock show. Common decency dictates the whole deal. The last time the Truckers were in town, they played to a packed Jannus Landing, and on the way to the show I wondered how that would translate for Isbell. The crowd was significantly reduced compared to the Jannus show, but it was still bigger than most for an artist touring on their debut cd.
Jason and his band took the stage with the familiar Jack Daniels bottle in hand, and in that single moment I knew everything was gonna be okay. Opening the show with “Brand New Kind of Actress”, the same track that opens the cd, gave me a moment of worry. Ever since I saw Social Distortion play their new cd track by track, in order, and then walk off stage, I have worried when a show opens with the first track from the current album. Five minutes later, though, all my worries were squashed as Jason started picking the familiar opening riffs of “Decoration Day”….and the crowd went wild. From there, the band played a good mix of songs from Sirens, spiced with DBT familiars, and a few covers to round out the set. The crowd favorites were obviously Jason’s old DBT tracks “Outfit” and “Never Gonna Change”. Walking in, I wanted to hear two songs, my very favorite Isbell song, “Goddamn Lonely Love”, and my favorite track from the new cd “Try”. He managed to get both into the set, so I went home drunk and happy.
In closing, I would like to type a few lines about the band itself. Ever since Jason went solo, I have wondered about the 400 Unit. Was it really Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, or was it Jason Isbell and a revolving cast of players that were gonna heretofore be known as the 400 Unit? While I will not pretend to actually know anything beyond what anyone can see, standing out in front of a stage and watching them play, they certainly seemed to be a band and not a front guy with some hired guns. They were tighter than I expected them to be, and guitarist Browan Lollar even got to take over lead singer duties during a rather spirited cover of The Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”. Speaking of Lollar, whew, did Jason find himself a gem in that guy! That kid has got so much stage presence and charisma oozing out of him that I found it hard to watch the rest of the band at times. Oh yeah, and the boy can play the fucking hell out of a guitar as well.
All in all, I was really happy with Jason’s creation. I hope he keeps this lineup for the next cd and I look forward to hearing what Jason does now that this has his undivided attention.
The fine people over at New West Records have given me a pair of tickets for Saturday’s show at The Crowbar and a signed tour lithograph to give away to you fine readers. So here is the deal…the first person locally (Tampa Bay area) to answer the following trivia question correctly will win the tickets to the show. The second local person or the first non-local correct answer will win the signed lithograph.
-=Give Away Completed=-
Question: What colors are mentioned in Jason’s song, Goddamn Lonely Love, from the Drive-By Trucker album, The Dirty South?
-=Give Away Completed=-
Email me your answers and I’ll contact the winners.
It’s been quiet around town for a few weeks, but it looks like this weekend will be making up for it. When it rains it pours, I guess, but it’s better than sitting at home and watching pre-season football.
Friday Night @ Skipper’s Smokehouse:
Jacksonville’s own JJ Grey & Mofro bring their swamp-infused brand of front porch blues/soul music to the Skipperdome. I have never seen these guys live, but everyone I know who has is telling me it is gonna be one of my favorite shows of the year, and I’m totally buying into it, too. I’m loving their new cd, Country Ghetto, and judging from the tunes I can glean from archive.org, the band is tight and energetic. Besides, what could be better than an August night eating fried catfish and gator tail while listening to some bluesy soul music?
Opening up for Mofro is a group quickly taking over as my favorite local band, Nervous Turkey. Playing a brand of blues dirtier than a country boy’s, feet Nervous Turkey always puts on an entertaining show and will make for a perfect opener for this evening. So, come out, drink beers, eat fried food and have a good time.
Show starts at 8:00 and tickets will be $22.00.
Saturday Night @ Crowbar:
from aes presents:
“After amicably breaking away from his gig as an axman and songrwriter for DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS, Isbell returns with his first solo outing, a gorgeously whiskey-soaked Country-Soul masterpiece. It’s a perfect soundtrack for rocking on the porch or crying into your PBR.” – highly recommended for fans of DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS, RYAN ADAMS, UNCLE TUPELO, KINGS OF LEON, THE BOTTLE ROCKETS, etc. – from Muscle Shoals, AL – brand new record, “Sirens of the Ditch”, out now on New West.
I have been looking forward to this show for a few months now. If you are a fan of the rock show this is a must-see. Opening up for Jason is Denton, Texas’ Centro-matic. They come in with a root-rock/alt-country sound and seven albums under their belt. Always a good show, there is no reason for you to show up late for this show.
Doors are at 9:00 and tickets will be $12.00.
ADDITIONAL JASON ISBELL AND CENTRO-MATIC MP3’S ARE AVAILAVLE HERE.
Saturday Night @ Janus Landing:
Like I said earlier, when it rains it pours. Weeks of nothing and then we get two shows on the same damn night. If it weren’t for the Jason Isbell show, I would be at this show for sure. Tech N9ne, Kottonmouth Kings and Hed PE bring it to St. Pete. I don’t really know what the definition of ‘Krunk’ is, but when I think about seeing Tech live, I think K.R.U.N.K.. Fans of that hiphop sound should be at this show. Then email me and tell me what I missed.
Doors are at 7:30 and tickets will be $28.00
Tomorrow, Jason Isbell‘s DBT side project-turned-band sees their debut cd, Sirens of the Ditch, finally hit the shelves. It seems like I have been reading and talking about this cd for ages. Hell, I even named it as one of my most anticipated releases back in December. So I can only imagine what it has felt like for Mr. Isbell. Along the way, as we all know, Jason and the Trucker’s went their separate ways and Sirens finally got a firm release date. So, what does the solo Jason sound like?
First, this ain’t a Truckers album with Jason singing all the songs but it isn’t like the guy put on a brand new suit either. For the people hoping to hear “Decoration Day” and “Never Gonna Change” over and over, this cd is gonna take a couple of spins before you start to dig it…but you will. My first time through the cd, “Try” and “Devil is My Running Mate” jumped out, but outside of that I was a little let down. I went into the cd blind and expected the “Truckers album with Jason singing all the songs” cd. It was in the subsequent listens, as my original expectations gave way and I accepted the songs, that I began to really hear them. There is a varied sense of maturity to this cd and dare I say, it sounds like the kind of cd DBT was trying to make when they stumbled on A Blessing and a Curse.
My personal favorite track on the cd has got to be “Hurricanes and Hand Grenades”. First time I heard it, I could not hit the skip button fast enough. I dunno, maybe I was in a shit mood or maybe it was just too far away from what I was expecting to accept it at the time. It really reminds me of a 70’s-era contemplative “my baby left me” country song. It’s a beautiful song. Other standouts include the driving guitars rock song sound you expect of “Try”, the acoustic guitar and banjo interplay of “The Magician”, and the piano driven song for his departed grandfather, “Chicago Promenade”. Also included on the cd is “Dress Blues”. Hardcore Truckers fans are quite familiar with this song already, but for the uninitiated, it is a song about a friend of Jason’s who did not make it back from the war. A powerful song on the youtube and DBT live boots, it acquires an 8 pound sledge in its studio version. The cd closes with “Devil is my Running Mate”, an acoustic anti-war ballad that lacks all the anti-war song cheese everyone is starting to bore of, and has all of the craft we have come to expect and love from Jason’s songs.
All in all, this wasn’t what I expected at first, but as the cd played I found it to be exactly what I was expecting. Jason isn’t a member of the Truckers anymore and that means we have to listen to him with new ears. When you do, what you will hear is a diverse collection of songs with the songwriting talent you’ve come to expect from Jason, coupled with the freedom to do whatever he feels like.
Note to Tampa/St. Pete readers: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are playing Crowbar with the super awesome Centro-matic on August 18. You would have known this if you actually checked the ninebullets.net calendar with any regularity. There is no reason not to go…it’s on the weekend and I’ve already told you it’ll be awesome. See you there. Buy me a drink.
Useless trivia moment: The 400 unit refers to the 4th floor (rooms starting at 400) at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital of Alabama. It’s the crazy ward.
The Drive-By Trucker’s are currently out on their The Dirt Underneath tour. The shows are all acoustic and are not coming anywhere near me here in Florida. Fortunately, the Truckers are a taper friendly band so I cruised over to the Digital Panic forums to grab me a copy of one of the shows. I ended up with a copy of the show they did on 04.28.07 at the Georgia Theater in Athens, Ga. I so wish this tour was making it to Florida. They sound great and are playing around 7 new songs that blow away everything on A Blessing and A Curse (thank god). Now, I am super duper excited about the new DBT album and figured I’d toss up some of the songs from the show. First, here is an acoustic version of the song that gave this here web site it’s name:
These two are my absolute favorite DBT tracks. I could not choose one over the other if I had to. Top lyrical moments:
Zip City – “Got 350 Heads on a 305 engine I get 10 miles to the gallon, I ain’t got no good intentions.”
Women Without Whiskey – “The whiskey ain’t to blame and I ain’t trying to. It don’t make you do a thing, It just let’s you.”
As I said, they are playing about 7 new songs on this tour and I posted a video of Patterson playing one of them, Daddy Needs a Drink, earlier today. I have agonized over this all day. Do I post the songs or not? I have decided that if you wanna hear them as bad as I did then, like me, you can go get the show and that I would just post my favorite of the new songs. Enjoy!
While we are on the DBT love train. An mp3 of one of Jason’s new songs, Try, has popped up. It has been available for streaming on his myspace page for a while but now you can listen without have to load that shitty myspace player. (Jason’s album, Sirens of the Ditch, comes out July 10 on New West Records)