Sunday, 3 April 2016

Jason Isbell-Croxton Hotel bandroom 01.04.16

It was a treat to see an artist like Jason Isbell in an intimate setting like the Croxton band room. I was immediately struck by the ease with which he makes a connection with his audience, the honesty and realism of his songs continue to build him a devoted following.

His new album Something More Than Free showcases a songwriter becoming more at ease with himself and looking at the world around him, especially the insular world of small town America. That album featured prominently in his live set, 24 Frames finds an appreciative response from the crowd. Isbell dips into the past with a powerful version of Decoration Day from his days with the Drive By Truckers. His band the 400 unit featuring guitarist Sadler Vaden, bassist Jimbo Hart, keys player Derry Deborja and drummer Chad Gamble are an exceptional backing unit, Vaden and Isbell traded guitar licks throughout the gig.

Isbell brings the temperature down with a trio of songs that capture the dissolute nature of a lot of his characters, Different Days, Hudson Commodore and The Life You Chose. Isbell performs them with a restrained sensitivity, he opens things up on Cover Me Up his voice is remarkably powerful. Another classic from Southeastern, Stockholm closes the show, I've been lucky to have caught some good Bluesfest sideshows this week and this gig was a standout. There are few performers like Jason Isbell touring around these days so if he is in your city make sure you check him out.

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