New Threads of Meaning: Jason Isbell's Upcoming Album, Newly Released Singles

The evolution of Jason Isbell will formally continue this June with the release of his 5th studio album, Nashville Sound.

Out June 16, 2017
In listening to a few of the released songs, one gets the sense that laments concerning the politics of class in the south may be slowly fading in Jason Isbell's mind. Fading, or at least getting updated with more nuance and complexity-fitting for the current political climate. New bridges are being crossed in Nashville Sound. Some of these songs, I think, are in response to what Isbell's saw and experienced in 2016. His former band, the Drive By Truckers, addressed the Black Lives Matter movement on their political album American Band, he witnessed the birth of his daughter, and grappled with election of Donald Trump.

While it's not as if sobriety, love, the south, and substance abuse don't show up in this new batch of songs songs, it's just that now Isbell  acknowledges that exploring rural poverty and white privilege don't have to be two mutually exclusive ideas. The songs? Many are an honest stare-downs into the culture of white privileged, class politics, and sexism that run rampant in American culture. With an eye out for his newly born daughter as well as larger scale racism, here's slowly moving, groovy "White Man's World":

In "Hope on the High Road", Isbell echos the theme in "White Man's World"-proclaiming that he has "heard enough of the white man's blues/ I sang enough about it myself"-but steers this tune into not introspection and dismay but positivity. Meet him on the high road. He's doing alright.

Of course, Isbell has released a  killer love song that will stop you dead in "If We Were Vampires". The song, like all the best love songs, is able to intermingle death into a narrative about love over a spellbinding acoustic guitar:

Lastly, for old times sake we find him examining geographic and spiritual isolation as he drinks himself into a tailspin in "Cumberland Gap":

There's six more songs to come-we'll see what they're all about June 16th. Till then, enjoy.

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