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Old 05-16-2020, 08:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
TheBig3's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Posts: 9,643
Default Reunions - Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

From the Wiki:

Reunions is the seventh studio album released by Jason Isbell, accompanied by his backing band The 400 Unit. The album was released on May 15, 2020, though Isbell released four tracks digitally in the preceding months. It was released early in independent record stores on May 8, intended to help small businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Released May 15, 2020
Genre Americana, Roots Rock
Label Southeastern Records
Producer Dave Cobb
If you're like me, and you first knew Isbell from his Drive-by Trucker days, then you're not going to be disappointed. Distinguishing the songwriting here from Decoration Day would be a tall order for a passing fan. Which is another way of saying this is a solid album, and Isbell hasn't lost his ability to stab you in the heart with a line, or use a tired cliche and turn it on it's head, and put a small town in economic depression on your mental map.

The most notable difference here from my previous experience with him was the decidedly more rock angle some of the songs take on. With the lead guitars on "What have I done to help" and "Overseas" there's a bluesier feel than might overwise have appeared on a folkier and sometimes americana-esque album. Indeed, on "Letting you go", "St. Peter's Autograph", and "Dreamsicle" you might get the impression that a White Stripes-era Jack White had a hand in writing the guitar lines.

But this shouldn't be taken to mean the album is schizophrenic. If anything, Reunions plays like the soundtrack to one man's journey through a part of America that is often only seen through the political charicature of Presidential Elections. Isbell puts a human face on the closed factory like only the great songwriters can't. But unlike the usual "we've got it hard out here" missives from the heartland, Isbell being a native son means that he never questions his own authenticity, and weaves in his own personal lyrics, making many of these tracks feel like a novel new story in the midst of a famliar polemic.

Recommended Tracks:
  1. Overseas
  2. Running w/ Our Eyes Closed
  3. It Gets Easier
  4. Letting you go
  5. What I've Done to Help
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