14 ene. 2013

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: Live from Alabama


by Mark Deming
Not long after Jason Isbell released his first solo album, 2007's Sirens of the Ditch, he released an EP,Live at Twist and Shout, which documented an in-store performance by Isbell and his band the 400 Unitat a Denver, Colorado record shop. Just four years later, Isbell has delivered another live disc, Live from Alabama, a full-length album culled from a pair of August 2012 concerts, and if one wonders why Isbellseems so keen to record his live sets, one listen will tell you why: Isbell and his band are at their best in front of an audience, and Live from Alabama demonstrates Isbell's impressive gifts as a singer, guitarist, songwriter, and frontman. While his work with the Drive-By Truckers was impressive, he's grown tremendously as a singer since striking out on his own, and with a crowd to cheer him on, Isbell delivers the goods on Live from Alabama, sounding richly soulful on "Heart on a String," rueful and evocative on "In a Razor Town," and full of bluesy swagger on "The Blue." If the 400 Unit lack the volume and firepower of the DBTs, the smaller, more dynamic combo leaves more room for dynamics and subtlety, which works well for Isbell's songs (the versions of "Decoration Day" and "Danko/Manuel" here rival those he recorded with the Truckers), and like his vocals, Isbell's guitar work is all the more impressive when it doesn't have to fight for space. As a storyteller, Isbell's tales of dashed hopes and Southern pride are powerful, realistic, and keenly intelligent, and he and the band bring them to life with just the right touch. And the closing cover of Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane" is a barn-burning finale. If you haven't seen Isbell and the 400 Unit on-stage, Live from Alabama will likely convince you to show up the next time they play in your area, and if you already have, this will remind you why you walked home impressed.

2 comentarios:

  1. Su paso por Drive-By Truckers supuso el mejor periodo de la banda, y su etapa con 400 Unit lleva camino de consolidarles como uno de los mejores actos del rock sureño moderno. Gloriosa canción.

  2. Tanto Jason Isbell como Patterson Hood son dos músicos de primer nivel. Me gustan los discos de los Drive-By Truckers y los que han sacado ellos individualmente. El nuevo de Patterson Hood con el magnífico título "Heat Lightning Rumbles in the distance" es uno de mis favoritos en 2012. A seguir así!