Tag Archives: Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell – Taft Theater – 15th June 2016

Every now and again you go to a gig where everything is just perfect, the venue is great for the event, the support act kick up a storm and the main act turn out to be even better than you’d hoped for. Wednesday night at the Taft Theater in Cincinnati was one of those nights!

Being a Brit, I was looking forward to seeing Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. To my shame I never saw him perform live in the UK, only seeing him on TV, most notably at the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony in London. He kicked off his set at the Taft with I Still Believe from his England Keep My Bones album, starting off the song on his own, with the Sleeping Souls joining him on stage one by one. The audience enthusiastically took up his offer to join in the chorus. He followed this with The Next Storm from his most recent album, Positive Songs for Negative People, another barn storming anthem. Apart from this great opening, the highlights for me were Peggy Sang the Blues, a song, he told us, about his grandmother giving him his first taste of whisky at the age of ten, and Dan’s Song, which he’d written for a recently departed friend. The one low point, for me anyway, was the audience participation slot with a guy being brought on from the crowd to play (badly) a harmonica solo! Other than that, it was a superb energetic set, which more than got the crowd warmed up for the main event.

I’ve seen Jason Isbell a couple of times prior to the Taft, firstly back in the UK, at the London Palladium in April 2012, supporting Ryan Adams. That night he performed a brilliant, but short, solo set. I then saw him a couple of years ago at the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta, that time with a full band. With it being a festival, again his set was far too short, so to say I was looking forward to seeing him perform a full set was a bit of an understatement!

And he didn’t disappoint!

The concert covered all eras of his career, with three songs from his time with the Drive-By Truckers. The best of these for me being Decoration Day. I saw the Drive-By Truckers a few weeks ago at Bogarts, and I have to say when Jason Isbell and his band rocked out, they were more than a match for the DBTs. The bulk of the set-list was taken from his two most recent albums, Southeastern and Something More Than Free, and that was fine by me. Southeastern for me is just a classic and one of my favorite albums and it was great to hear some of these songs performed live. Different Days and Stockholm were standouts for me, but Cover Me Up, just blew me away. The new songs sounded even better live, Hudson Commodore and Speed Trap Town being highlights for me. He also threw in Alabama Pines, a song I love.

For the encore, he performed Elephant and Flying Over Water from Southeastern, sandwiched between these two was Sing Me Back Home, a beautiful Merle Haggard song.

It was a great set, with a great band, including his wife Amanda Shires, and the show was enhanced by a brilliant set design and spectacular lighting.

Now the evening could have ended there and I would have left for home feeling more than satisfied, but I was lucky enough to meet Frank Turner after the show.

And what a great guy he is. He had time for everyone and was more than obliging, posing for photos and signing autographs. I found out he’d just been touring with Gogol Bordello, somewhat different to Jason Isbell!  Apart from talking about previous gigs he’s performed in my old town, he mentioned that he was returning to Cincinnati for the Midpoint Music Festival, how good is that?

So all in all, one superb night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Something More Than Free – Jason Isbell

Something More Than Free by Jason Isbell is the latest addition to my ever expanding record collection and it’s by far my favorite album of the year by far.

Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first came across Jason Isbell on Bob Harris’s show on BBC Radio 2, when he played Alabama Pines from his Here We Rest album. A few weeks later, on 30 April 2012, I caught him playing a short, but brilliant, acoustic set at the London Palladium supporting Ryan Adams. I remember him doing a superb version of Alabama Pines and I’m sure there was a Drive By Truckers song in there too.

When I spent three months in Columbus Georgia, during the summer of 2013, it was a few months after the release of his Southeastern album. After hearing a couple of songs on the local radio station I purchased the album and it’s been a staple on my playlist ever since. I was lucky enough to catch him last year in Atlanta, at the Shaky Knees festival, where he played a few songs off Southeastern. A highlight of that set was a duet with Candi Stanton, when they performed Candi Stanton’s Heart on a String.

Jason Isbell - Southeastern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I must admit to wondering whether Something More Than Free would match up to Southeastern, which is an acknowledged classic. But having listened to it a few times, it more than matches it. It’s definitely less personal than Southeastern and is definitely more upbeat. As a Brit who has only spent a few months in the South, his songs, based on characters and situations from the South, shouldn’t mean a lot to me, but that’s the strength of Jason Isbell’s songwriting, his songs resonate with me.

I mentioned earlier that I’d seen Jason Isbell perform with Ryan Adams, well I can offer no bigger compliment than say that I rate Something More Than Free on a par with Gold by Ryan Adams, that was released over ten years ago and is an album I constantly play.

Ryan_Adams - Gold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just to finish, how about some Alabama Pines

 

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Filed under Near Vinyl Heaven

My Top Ten Albums of 2014

Well we’re approaching the end of 2014, so like loads of other music fans, I’ve put together a list of My Top Ten Albums of 2014. And here it is:

10 – Herd Runners by Cherry Ghost

Cherry Ghost - Herd Runners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 – Road of Bones by IQ

IQ - Road of Bones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 – Hand on the Plow by The Tillers

The Tillers - Hand on the Plow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 – The River and the Thread by Rosanne Cash

Rosanne Cash - The River and the Thread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 – Northlands by Tony Patterson and Brendan Eyre

Tony Patterson & Brendan Eyre - Northlands

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 – Familiars by The Antlers

The Antlers - Familiars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 – Abel Ganz by Abel Ganz

Abel Ganz - Abel Ganz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 – Ryan Adams by Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 – Southeastern by Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell - Southeastern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 – Acoustic Live at the Ryman by Band of Horses

Band of Horses - Acoustic at the Ryman

 

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