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All That Glitters is Gold: Jason Isbell: 'Southeastern'

(Photo Credit - Alysse Gafkjen)

This is All That Glitters is Gold, a recurring piece about some of my favorite artists, albums, tracks, and live shows. Here I will write about the music I love, most of which inspired me to start Alt Revue in the first place. I'm excited to highlight this music and talk about how it has impacted me. I hope you enjoy getting a glimpse into some of my favorites!

Jason Isbell's work both as a solo artist and as the band leader for The 400 Unit is incomparable. He steadfastly remains at the forefront of the alt/country genre with every release. He's a man of principles who spent years as an alcoholic and has been so open about his journey toward recovery. He pours the emotion of this into his work, especially his work with The 400 Unit.

But what I'd like to talk about today is his fourth release as a solo musician, Southeastern. Southeastern has been a favorite in my record collection for a while now and always remains in my rotation list. It's such a dynamic album that is best listened to on vinyl so that you can listen straight through.

I'm not going to discuss every track on the album, but I do want to highlight a few of my favorites. The first is the opening track on the album "Cover Me Up". It's a slow, mainly acoustic track that prominently features Isbell's dynamic vocals. Lyrically, Isbell eloquently addresses topics of love and sobriety in this one. It's a must-listen from the Alabama born singer/songwriter.

Secondly, I'd like to touch on the heartbreaker of the album, "Elephant". "Elephant" is one of Isbell's most well-known songs and for good reason. The song delivers an absolutely devastating tale about a woman suffering a losing bout with cancer. For anyone that has had a loved one go through a fight with cancer, it's amazing how Isbell captures the heartache of this in the track.

A couple of other songs off the album that I'd recommend include: "Traveling Alone", "Different Days", and "Yvette". Though as I mentioned before, this is one you'll want to pick up on vinyl and give it it's due by going cover to cover. Southeastern is a great starting point for people looking to dive into Jason Isbell's work. Hopefully this piece will point you in that direction if you're new to him or maybe even if you've been away for a while. One of today's best all-around performers that not only does it in the studio, but doing it live as well (I had the pleasure of seeing Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit perform in Houston). Hopefully you can appreciate this album and the artist as much as I do.

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