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Seasick Sailor

Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, and Other Good Stuff

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Sure, I get your perspective, at least in theory.  I just felt like you were accusing him of a calculated commercial approach, when in reality it could just be his new normal.  Sobriety is a big driver for those who are new to it, as is love with what seems to be one's partner for life.  I think his writing is too good and too seemingly honest to doubt.

And, big loud drunk guitars get old for most musicians, too.

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He pretty much lays out his discography here: https://uproxx.com/indie/jason-isbell-interview-reunions-reviews-every-album/

I thought this was very insightful when speaking of Sirens:

"I wanted to make a record that was completely mine because I was playing with the Drive-By Truckers at that point. As much as I loved making music with those guys — especially then, before things went sour — I felt like I needed to make a record that was my own. When I was writing a song for the Truckers, in my mind, I was thinking, “I need to stay within the confines of that project,” because it wasn’t my project. It was Patterson [Hood]’s project. So it was kind of weird to write songs that fit with that band. Everything else that I was writing at the time went into the bin for my own album that I was planning to make."

I think a lot of us that found him with DBT just miss songs like Decoration Day and Never Gonna Change or fast forward to Go It Alone.  Alabama Pines and Codeine aren't big rockers but they mesh with what I like a lot more than some of the stuff he's writing these days.  I've said it before but I wish he'd step away from Cobb for an album.  I think he's in a bit of a sound rut but like Al said he's rich now so why change if he loves what he's doing?  He's done a ton of press for this record and seems to really be happy with it and I love hearing him talk about the songs, I just don't love all the songs. 

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Sure, I get your perspective, at least in theory.  I just felt like you were accusing him of a calculated commercial approach, when in reality it could just be his new normal.  Sobriety is a big driver for those who are new to it, as is love with what seems to be one's partner for life.  I think his writing is too good and too seemingly honest to doubt.

And, big loud drunk guitars get old for most musicians, too.

BJ Barham of American Aquarium has been sober not quite as long as Isbell. He writes about it a lot. He also writes about his wife a lot. His last two albums have absolutely blown Isbell’s post Southeastern out put out of the water to me. It’s energetic, raw, and powerful.

 

I don’t think Isbell made a calculated decision to go commercial. I think the success of Southeastern has made it hard for him to justify big risks or move back to an older, less beloved sound.

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8 minutes ago, Al_4_ISU said:

I don’t think Isbell made a calculated decision to go commercial. I think the success of Southeastern has made it hard for him to justify big risks or move back to an older, less beloved sound.

I don't think you have a leg to stand on in making that assumption.

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I checked out "The Long Haul" by American Aquarium . . . good stuff.  I think it's quite a bit more populist than Isbell's stuff, definitely less poetic, and so I don't see the "blown away" aspect, but I respect your point.  The thing that always kills me about Jason Isbell is his way with words.  He operates on a higher plane in that regard than almost anyone I can think of.  I guess I put a heavy weight on that.

Anyway, thanks for the rec.

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whether he intentionally went commercial or not, the results are clear. he found a formula and isn't looking back. it's possible this was what he wanted all along and just had to cater to the DBT crowd in the beginning because that's all he had. whatever the case, his music now is far different than where he started. he's certainly lost some folks along the way but has gained that back twofold in soccer moms. 

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I don't think you have a leg to stand on in making that assumption.

Well of course not. I don’t know the guy. It’s just my opinion watching from the sidelines. That’s kind of all any of this discussion is.

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12 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

I checked out "The Long Haul" by American Aquarium . . . good stuff.  I think it's quite a bit more populist than Isbell's stuff, definitely less poetic, and so I don't see the "blown away" aspect, but I respect your point.  The thing that always kills me about Jason Isbell is his way with words.  He operates on a higher plane in that regard than almost anyone I can think of.  I guess I put a heavy weight on that.

Anyway, thanks for the rec.

Jason is a poet. So was Prine and Townes and Guy. Over the years I think they did a better job of writing a lot of songs about the same subjects without them sounding the same. Prine used a lot of humor. I don’t think Jason’s music has ever made me laugh, even though he’s a hilarious dude on Twitter. 

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I checked out "The Long Haul" by American Aquarium . . . good stuff.  I think it's quite a bit more populist than Isbell's stuff, definitely less poetic, and so I don't see the "blown away" aspect, but I respect your point.  The thing that always kills me about Jason Isbell is his way with words.  He operates on a higher plane in that regard than almost anyone I can think of.  I guess I put a heavy weight on that.
Anyway, thanks for the rec.

I like that heart-on-sleeve grit quality to Barham’s writing. It’s definitely less poetic. No argument there.

We’re all wired differently, so you may not dig AA the way I do. They certainly don’t have Isbell’s following, and I don’t think they have as wide appeal.

A great example of why I prefer their recent work to his can be seen by comparing their song “Better South” to “Be Afraid”. Similar subject matter. I like the AA approach a lot more.

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20 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

I checked out "The Long Haul" by American Aquarium . . . good stuff.  I think it's quite a bit more populist than Isbell's stuff, definitely less poetic, and so I don't see the "blown away" aspect, but I respect your point.  The thing that always kills me about Jason Isbell is his way with words.  He operates on a higher plane in that regard than almost anyone I can think of.  I guess I put a heavy weight on that.

Anyway, thanks for the rec.

If you’re gonna start on AA go ahead and listen to Burn, Flicker, Die. Jason produced, plays and sings on it. 

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39 minutes ago, Buzzrock said:

Success is definitely messing with his head.

 

I don't know how you get there from that article.  Sounds to me like a man who is trying to expand his artistic reach and is struggling with it.  I mean, I guess success is all part of the experience, but I didn't take any sort of ego or snobbery away from what I read.

 

Quote

“There is a constant progression for me to try to take my own experience out of the work,” he said. “It’s what separates pros from beginners. Can you write about something other than yourself and not be vague, broad and clichéd?”

 

Dude's trying to grow.  He's probably just growing away from his original fans.  Happens all the time.  (Sting, Prince, Elvis Costello, Paul Westerberg, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Guns 'n Roses, hell, almost any artist with any longevity.  Most people get tired of plowing the same ground, and for good reason.)

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But that’s our issue. He’s been plowing the same subjects and sounds for 7 years. I give him credit for having a couple of different sounding songs on this one, I just don’t think he nailed those songs. 

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The thing is, it sounds to my ears that he's still plowing the same ground he has for the better part of a decade.

Maybe on Friday I'll come to a completely different conclusion.  I hope I will.

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In don’t really care if he doesn’t release groundbreaking stuff all the time. I like his songs, some better than others. And I like what he’s all about. And I’m very much looking forward to watching his craft evolve over a whole career.

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Here’s how I get there:

“You think, ‘If I make a record that’s not great, everybody’s going to dismiss me entirely. If I [expletive] up my relationship, everybody’s going to be so shocked that they’ll write me off completely.’ All those things, when you say them out loud sound ridiculous, but they stay in there and gnaw at you.”

That someone who’s in his own head.

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Well, I expect all great artists to be in their own head.

This isn't a hill I'm willing to die on, I'm just always willing to cut those who have proven themselves a lot of slack.  That said, taste is obviously subjective, and I have no problem with people preferring his early or mid-career material.  I just rankle at the presumptions of why changes might occur.  Sometimes people just change.

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16 hours ago, Al_4_ISU said:

BJ Barham of American Aquarium has been sober not quite as long as Isbell. He writes about it a lot. He also writes about his wife a lot. His last two albums have absolutely blown Isbell’s post Southeastern out put out of the water to me. It’s energetic, raw, and powerful.

 

I don’t think Isbell made a calculated decision to go commercial. I think the success of Southeastern has made it hard for him to justify big risks or move back to an older, less beloved sound.

The new American Aquarium album is just so damn good.

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7 minutes ago, ocugolf said:

The new American Aquarium album is just so damn good.

Yeah, I agree.  It's my favorite thing released this year.  It just hits so many subjects in powerful ways, and the band sounds amazing. 

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But he’s not the wordsmith isbell is. Not that that’s anything to hold against someone.

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Well, I just finished Reunions.

 

It’s easily my least favorite thing he’s done. I don’t see anything here I’ll go back to save “Only Children”. Which is a beautiful poem with a solid melody.

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I’ve come around on Dreamsicle as well but, yeah we’re obviously in agreement again. 

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Agreed, my least favorite of his solo albums, at least so far. But, Something More than Free and Nashville Sound both took a while to grow on me. But, I don’t hear anything on this matching the high points of those 2 (24 Frames and Last of My Kind for me).


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Ah, fuck it. I still say the new album is a letdown, but as the father of 2 girls, damn if Letting You Go didn’t get me. Isbell is undefeated.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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You can get it on YouTube. Mmm, Amanda.


As much of an Isbell fanboy as I am, the last show I saw (finally) featured Amanda. Couldn’t take my eyes off her.


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I have been on a huge Slobberbone kick lately and came across this:

 

 

I miss fat drunk Isbell.

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There was a run where Texas put out some mighty good bar bands, from Doctors Mob to Slobberbone to Grand Champeen and beyond.  I miss that run.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ten Bears said:

I am late the Slobberbone fanwagon but holy shit they were good.

I found DBT through Slobberbone (Patterson on Lazy Guy) in late ‘02. I hated Jason’s voice at first. Ha!

Edited by 4th&Five

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Posted (edited)

So many great lines.  

I pull myself a steak knife

From the bottom of the kitchen sink

Edited by Ten Bears

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So on Little Sister, what does he mean by "'Cause it was I"?

Did he throw his sister down the well?

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Just now, Ten Bears said:

So on Little Sister, what does he mean by "'Cause it was I"?

Did he throw his sister down the well?

Not sure.

"Billy Pritchard" is still the best Slobberbone killin' song.  Hell, I think it's one of the best killin' songs of all time.  That's one hell of a plot twist.

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On 5/18/2020 at 11:41 AM, Al_4_ISU said:

Not sure.

"Billy Pritchard" is still the best Slobberbone killin' song.  Hell, I think it's one of the best killin' songs of all time.  That's one hell of a plot twist.

Yeah, I wonder why dad had it out for little Billy? 

I do love a good killin song.

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Yeah, I wonder why dad had it out for little Billy? 
I do love a good killin song.

IIRC, he was rotten to the core.

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Damn I dig St Peter’s autograph on Reunions, some incredible lines in it

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On 5/16/2020 at 10:55 AM, Ten Bears said:

I have been on a huge Slobberbone kick lately and came across this:

 

 

I miss fat drunk Isbell.

He checked himself in to rehab 8 months after this was shot.  

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Tonight Brandi Carlile is singing her album "By the Way, I Forgive You".  Tickets are $10.00.  I can't watch it live, but picked up a ticket to watch it in a couple of nights when I have some free time.

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