Sunday, February 05, 2012

# 17 (TM) Jason Isbell - Here We Rest

For some reason, the Drive-By Truckers last few albums have left me cold, while former Trucker Jason Isbell seems to have stolen their mojo on Here We Rest, easily his most consistent record.

Here We Rest is rooted in its southerness, with a deep Alabama groove set to fluttering fiddles and sure-handed shuffles that make characters like the broken soul barfly in "Codeine" come alive even as they battle addiction, and his version of Candi Staton's southern soul standard "Heart on A String" sounds like a lost Delbert McClinton classic.

But the highlight is "Alabama Pines", whose lonesome loser has lost touch with home as he's stuck in a crappy little room in a nowhere town and aching to find his way back by pleading for "Somebody take me home, through those Alabama pines". As another great songwriter once opined, it's sadly beautiful.

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