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Like the two albums before it, Here We Rest shines a light on Jason Isbell's softer side, illuminating the sad-faced country tunes and bluesy ballads that rarely popped up during his time with Drive-By Truckers. Written in northern Alabama during a break in Isbell's touring schedule, these songs focus on the archetypal characters that populate most struggling Southern towns: the barflies and ball players, the heartbreakers and the heartbroken, the war vets who return home and the starry-eyed kids who leave. Isbell's hometown was hit hard by the Great Recession of 2008, and he captures his subjects somewhere between the realization that their lives have been impacted and the sad resignation that they've been irrevocably changed. The details are bittersweet, but there's an air of resilience, too, which Isbell underscores with a sympathetic soundtrack of folk, country, and bar band rock & roll. Relying on the acoustic guitar as much as its electric cousin -- and allowing his four-piece band, the 400 Unit, to flesh things out with organ, fiddle, backup harmonies, and shuffling rhythms -- he keeps things loose and rugged, with songs like "Codeine" and "Daisy Mae" standing out as particular highlights. Here We Rest may not be beer-drinking music, at least not in the same way the Drive-By Truckers albums are beer-drinking music, but it's as sharply literate as some of Patterson Hood's best work -- and listeners who focus on Isbell's lyrics may find themselves weeping into their whiskeys as early as the second track.
|Label:||Lightning Rod Rec.|
Performance CreditsJason Isbell & the 400 Unit Primary Artist
Amanda Shires Fiddle,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Abby Owens Vocals,Guest Appearance
Technical CreditsGeorge Jackson Composer
Mickey Buckins Composer
Tom Swift Engineer
Jason Isbell Composer
Derrick DeBorja Composer
Jimmy Nutt Engineer
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit Producer
Browan Lollar Paintings
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit shine on Here We Rest. The whole album is very listenable, but two songs stand out for me - Codeine, which contains the lyrics: "You should come home tonight, but you won't; I wish we knew how to fight, but we don't", and Never Could Believe: "There weren't no truth in a word that little girl said; The only time she didn't lie to me was rolling in a big ol' bed." Isbell seems to have found a way to write Southern songs without being overt, but they still hold a truths for all of the country. The album blends acoustic and electric elements in a manner that few musicians are capable of these days.