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Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Jason Isbell and his band the 400 Unit release their highly anticipated new album, Reunions, via Southeastern Records/Thirty Tigers. Produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb and recorded at Nashville's historic RCA Studio A, the album features 10 new songs written by Isbell including album track, "Be Afraid".
Reunions is Isbell's seventh full-length studio album and the fourth released with his band, the 400 Unit: Derry deBorja (piano, keyboard, organ, omnichord), Chad Gamble (drums, tambourine), Jimbo Hart (bass), Amanda Shires (fiddle) and Sadler Vaden (acoustic guitar, electric guitar). The new album also includes background vocals from special guests David Crosby (Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Byrds) and Jay Buchanan (Rival Sons). Of the release, Isbell shares, "There are a lot of ghosts on this album. Sometimes the songs are about the ghosts of people who aren't around anymore, but they're also about who I used to be, the ghost of myself. I found myself writing songs that I wanted to write fifteen years ago, but in those days, I hadn't written enough songs to know how to do it yet. Just now have I been able to pull it off to my own satisfaction. In that sense it's a reunion with the me I was back then."
Originally from Green Hill, Alabama and currently based in Nashville, Isbell is a four-time GRAMMY Award-winning artist and is widely renowned as one of the greatest songwriters of his generation. Garnering immense critical acclaim throughout his career, NPR Music calls him, "one of the finest singer-songwriters working at the intersection of folk, country and rock today," and continues, "his songs have an exquisite, rawboned realism and deeply embedded class-consciousness," while American Songwriter declares, "There's no better songwriter on the planet at this moment, no one operating with the same depth, eloquence or feeling" and USA Today proclaims, "he has developed into one of the great American songwriters...in a world where most pop songs are lies, Isbell is determined to find truth."
Since the release of his breakthrough solo album, Southeastern, in 2013, Isbell has won four GRAMMY Awards, nine Americana Music Association Awards and was selected as the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum's official 2017 Artist-in-Residence.
Reunions is a worthwhile slow burn of an album. It's sonically delicate; even when it's rocking. The first few plays it's easy to miss the album's thoughtfulness and attention to detail. However, like a good puzzle, it's worth taking the time to make Reunions' pieces fit. Jason Isbell might just be a genuine modern country legend in the making.
Isbell is a gifted lyricist and melodist, and these songs are full of hooks.
Isbell's growth as a solo artist has been remarkably steady, and you can hear him pushing himself with each new effort. On Reunions, it perhaps for the first time sounds truly effortless. Not to say there isn't clear, loving labor in the songwriting, only that there's a sense it's materializing more naturally than ever before. It's what makes tracks like the mournful remembrance of 'Only Children' feel so open and the gauntlet toss of 'Be Afraid' a daring challenge rather than pomposity. Unanswered questions on standout single 'What've I Done to Help' work simultaneously as self-admonishing introspection and keen moral commentary. This is what happens when a gifted artist is confident enough in their identity and craft that the songs come through them, not to them. And Isbell has the perspective not to question it, which allows Reunions to contain his most powerful songs to date.
Isbell has both smarts and perspective, and each seems to increase a little bit more from one album to the next. He's always been an empathetic songwriter with a distinctive willingness to see the world from a point of view other than his own. Like any good storyteller, Isbell creates characters, and he has a storyteller's ability to bring them to life by infusing them with enough of his own experiences, be it sobriety or fatherhood, to make their struggles and small triumphs resonate.
- Vinyl LP
- Gatefold jacket
- Limited time HD download included
- What've I Done To Help
- Only Children
- Running With Our Eyes Closed
- Be Afraid
- St. Peter's Autograph
- It Gets Easier
- Letting You Go