Jason Isbell w/ Strand of Oaks, Chattanooga Apr 16

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Crowder, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    Jason has played at Track 29 here several times (and at a smaller club before that). Last night he played a sold out show there with Strand of Oaks opening.

    The last time I saw Jason in the same room, it was a very "safe" show. His Southeastern tour was meant to showcase that record, and he was on the road for the first time as a recovering alcoholic. He was solid, but he didn't take many chances. It was basically the same set he did for the Austin City Limits taping that a lot of us have seen.

    This time out, he was much looser, and he seemed to make a point to feature his entire catalog, including his best-known DBT songs, cuts from his earlier solo records, and much of Southeastern as well. He opened with a ripping version of "Go It Alone" followed up immediately by "Outfit" and a couple of other tough-sounding tracks (Flying Over Water and Decoration Day were in there). The band is so freaking tight, and the guitarist did a great job of covering the vocal harmonies that are sometimes handled by Jason's wife or the drummer.

    As is his habit, he strapped on his acoustic for a good 10 songs in the middle of the long set. The band played these songs with incredible sensitivity, but the bro-heavy crowd got a little restless. I think his overall show would be better if he went back and forth more between the electric and acoustic songs. The pacing would be more rewarding for the crowd.

    Probably my favorite song of the long set was a rollicking "Codeine" that had everyone singing and grooving. They killed that one. There was one song from the new record called "24 Frames." Sounded like a typical/classic Isbell rocker, and you could tell the band wasn't attacking it with the confidence they bring to the other material. I guess they're human after all.

    Jason was using some guitars I've never seen him play. He used what appeared to be a Les Paul R7 for most of the electric material. He also had a sunburst Tele Custom with a black pickguard that looked really sharp. He only used his Duesenberg for "Dress Blues," the first encore. He had a couple of Magnatone amps racked at the back of the stage with his Sommatone head. I wasn't close enough to peek at his pedals.

    Strand of Oaks was really interesting too. The main guy is a good writer. I liked the lead player. He had a really nice tone, lots of breakup and delay but still some clarity. Great harmonies too. They're one to watch.

    Great show overall. The sound was excellent. You could actually hear the lyrics throughout both bands' sets. I think I noticed something that helped with that. There were overheads on the drum kits, but they were mixed really low. The vocals cut through in part because there weren't a lot of cymbals in the mix. Will have to remember that one.
     
  2. Two-Octave

    Two-Octave Member

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  3. buzzp

    buzzp Member

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    Jason Isbell opening for MMJ this summer at Merriweather. Can't wait to see this show!
     
  4. Two-Octave

    Two-Octave Member

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  5. ChazMania

    ChazMania Silver Supporting Member

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    This might be the most I've looked forward to a release coming out in a long long time.
     
  6. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    It's hard to believe a record could be better than "Southeastern" but if anyone can do it, this guy can.
     
  7. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    I think it's probably his "Bring The Family," "Harvest," or "Blood on the Tracks." He may never put together a stronger set of songs again, but it won't be a failure if he doesn't.

    After the show I revisited his back catalog. He could play a damn strong hour choosing only material that he basically never plays anymore.
     
  8. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Agree completely.

    He's getting a pretty deep catalog. Kind of like Tom Petty - he could a whole show of nothing but his second-string hits, and still have more great songs than almost anyone.
     
  9. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    We noticed that he rarely touches on the first 400 Unit record at all. Sort of wondering if it's from too dark a time for him to want to revisit. There are as many great songs on that one as on any only the rest. I particularly like "The Last Song I'll Ever Write" but it is daaaaaark.
     

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