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Jason Isbell - Live at Twist and Shout

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 4 / 4 / 2008

Jason Isbell - Live at Twist and Shout
Label: New West Records
Format: CD


Subtle collision of southern rock, country and soul on highly impressive new six song live mini album from former Drive By Truckers guitarist, Jason Isbell.

The Drive By Truckers may have made the best album of their career with this year’s epic and sensational ‘Brighter Than Creation’s Dark’, but they did so without the singer and guitarist who had been responsible for some of the finest songs on their previous albums. Surely ‘Daylight’ and ‘Outfit’ will make any Truckers’ greatest hits of the future. In what was described by 'Uncut' as a comparatively amicable departure, Isbell left the band last year and released his first solo album, ‘Sirens of the Ditch’. Featuring contributions from his former band mates, that was a particularly impressive offering. Having only contributed two songs to his final Truckers album, albeit two especially good ones, here he demonstrated that he could maintain his standards over the course of a whole album. I would imagine that this six track live mini-album has been released at least in part to capitalise on the attention that has been given to his old band, but anyone who buys it won’t mind that. This well produced live album gives an exciting taste of what fans can expect on this month’s UK tour. Opening with ‘Grown’, we are treated to two songs from his solo album. Neither are the very best songs from ‘Sirens of the Ditch’, but here they are given more space to breathe and both distil the qualities that make Isbell so impressive, the subtle collision of southern rock, country and soul. From here, we are treated to three songs he wrote for his old band. Most impressive is ‘Outfit’, which is simply a classic. A father-to-son ballad, its lyrics verge on the profound, while remaining entirely humble and unpretentious, as the son is urged to "have fun and stay clear of the needle, call home on your sister’s birthday." Drawn to an impressive close by a slow and soulful cover of my favourite Van Morrison song, ‘Into the Mystic’, this will be a delight for long term Truckers fans and newcomers alike. I recommend it unconditionally.

Track Listing:-
1 Grown
2 Goddamn Lonely Love
3 Hurricanes And Hand Grenades
4 Danko/Manuel
5 Outfit
6 Into The Mystic

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Interview (2008)
Jason Isbell - Interview
Former Drive By Truckers guitarist and vocalist Jason Isbell released his debut solo album, 'Sirens of the Ditch', last year. At a show at the London Borderline to promote it with his new band the 400 Unit , Ben Howarth speaks to him both about itand his years with the Drive by Truckers

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