Sunday, July 26, 2015

Jason Isbell Comes To New Haven

Jason Isbell - photo by John V
Jason Isbell has been making impressive music since his days with Drive By Truckers. Since going solo in 2007, he’s released several records, including 2012’s excellent Southeastern. He’s now on tour supporting his latest release, Something More Than Free. On Wednesday, July 22, he made a stop at New Haven’s College Street Music Hall. Showcasing selections from several of his albums, as well as some Drive By Truckers tunes, Isbell and his band, The 400 Unit, treated us to a magnificent evening of music. Songs ranged from the driving opener "Palmetto Rose," and the tongue in cheek “Codiene,” to the powerful, moving “Elephant,” & “Cover Me Up.” Isbell & the band were tight. focused, and completely in sync during the well-paced show.

Isbell’s incisive & evocative lyrics combine elements of rock, folk & country. You can hear echoes of Bruce Springsteen & Jackson Browne, among others, in songs like “Speed Trap Town,” and “The Life You Chose.” Isbell is a unique & talented artist, and I think he’s truly come into his own on this latest album. He's also a strong live performer and sounded superb vocally during the show. There were no false notes from Isbell, who had a solid rapport with the audience, and played some killer guitar. The 400 Unit were awesome as well, including the fantastic Jimbo Hart on bass, Derry DeBorja on keyboards, Sadler Vadlen on guitar & Chad Gamble on drums. From “Stockholm” to “24 Frames” and “Alabama Pines” it was a compelling, soulful & thrilling concert. Jason & his brothers in song know how to put on a stunning concert.

The show climaxed with a three-song encore, ending with the audience singing along to the playful “Super 8.” If you get a chance to see Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit on tour this summer, head out & do so. And I urge you pick up one of his excellent albums as well; I'd start with Here We Rest, Southeastern or Something More Than Free, but they're all phenomenal. I’d also like to note that singer-songwriter Blake Mills did an amazing opening set. He absolutely shredded on guitar, playing cuts from his 2014 release Heigh Ho and doing a wonderful version of Joe Tex’s “I’ll Never Do You Wrong." Mills also produced the latest album by Alabama Shakes, and counts no less an authority than Eric Clapton among his fans. Mills is definitely worth checking out live. Here’s a link to Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit performing “Codiene,” and “Cover Me Up.”

Set List:
Palmetto Rose
24 Frames
Dress Blues
Decoration Day
Different Days
Traveling Alone
If It Takes A Lifetime
The Life You Chose
How To Forget
Speed Trap Town
Cover Me Up
Children of Children
Alabama Pines
Something More Than Free
Never Gonna Change
Goddamn Lonely Love
Super 8

No comments:

Post a Comment