Probably the best album so far of 2013, Jason Isbell’s Southeastern easily compares with obvious other singer/songwriters like Ryan Adams, and you can hear Springsteen and Arlo Guthrie in some songs – just naming company I think this album can keep over time as well.
It is uncomplicated – the songs are beautifully written and performed, all quite simple melodically but with nuances in where a line will go and with the clever but understated arrangements. They are lyrically rich too, storytelling that demands a listen. Two songs illustrate the range, though the acoustic first reflects the norm, Elephant, which is a candid and poignant account of drinking in a bar with a woman dying of cancer, and it is a beautiful song which in this context is hauntingly pretty and emotive. Then there’s the outright rocker Super 8, a foot-stomper, so that’s enough said there.
I had a listen today whilst out walking. Every single song resonated and when that happens, you are closed in and occupy that musical landscape. I didn’t get lost, but I so enjoyed where I had been.