℗ 2020 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers
I was looking at the reviews before listening to this ... And I'm not sure what people were hearing... Jason is very skilled, and I was impressed with the variety of styles, moods, and tempos on this CD. I'm buying it as soon as I finish this review.
Heard one song only & bought it ($6.99...industry go a little wiser at least) Letting You Go...I have a 2 yr old daughter. She will grow up with her Dad singing this to her. Thank you, Jason for defining these moments for us. Truly a gift and we are all glad to have your voice & songwriting to pass on to our sons & daughters. May they sing them to theirs.
One of my favorite songwriters but the songs and performances just aren't very strong. 'What Have I Done To Help" starts off abruptly but has a great bass line going for it. But clocking in at nearly 7 minutes it becomes redundant and the slide guitar in the closing minutes gets annoying...this needed a better arrangement to be worthy of its length. 'Only Children', while musically derivative of some earlier songs is about the only song that held my interest. The uptempo tracks are 4/4 time boring and some of the lyrical ideas are just banal. I'm starting to think that a little less 400 Unit (Southeastern, Something Less Than Free) might be a good thing next time around. I hope it's an abhoration.
Jason Isbell is one of the great singer songwriters. This album finds him in an introspective mood. I love every track. What Have I Done To Help has haunted me since the first listen. The 400U is in top form. I can’t wait to see it performed live.
Jason Isbell has it all: deeply soulful, phenomenal songwriter (one of the best ever), great guitarist, and an unmistakable voice which is what the best singers have--you hear them and immediately know its them. And to Jason: I read the NYT article today, and I hope at some point you are able to relax from the fear that each album won't measure up to the last. To hell with that. Write what is true to you, keep opening your heart and your mind, stay true to your incredibly talented wife and spunky daughter, and keep making the music that moves you and Amanda. Don't worry about the little people with their little lives who can't compete with you even in their dreams. This love comes to you from Knoxville, Tennessee, where we need all the beautiful Americana music and truth that we can get. Keep raising your voice and your musicianship! We hear you.
Isbell is on a roll. Just finished my first listen of the album front to back. He balances rock and acoustic like a master. Looking forward to my next listen already! Thanks for releasing this at a time we desperately need art.
The only politics that matter are those of the heart and the soul - as a writer and a musician, Jason Isbell is a truly gifted explorer of those politics. He is increasingly capable of using the intensely personal to express the universal - and with a rockin band behind him. This is a very fine album: superb writing, deft capturing of powerful emotions that never swerves into sentimentality, and great music that carefully navigates the tricky territory between bittersweet memory and proud celebration that is so characteristic of the best Southern music.
I'm a big fan of Jason's work and this is no exception. A great album from start to finish. The guitar solo on "Overseas" is incredible. I can feel the passion. Thank you Jason,Amanda, and the band.
Artists like Isbell come along only once in a while: an artist with a terrific story with epic ups and downs. His humble upbringing which saw him fall into his talent, rocket to notoriety with the DBT, fall into addiction, crawl out of the abyss, and find love and family. Now a well established, well connected, and critically beloved artist where does he go from here? More songs about addiction and redemption? Cookie cutter drivel to collect a pay check, tour, and sneak onto mainstream radio? Not at all. This record was different for me as almost half of it was available before it was released and I had heard one other song at two shows last year. At only 10 tracks I listened to it quickly, but ended up listening to it about a dozen times on release day. While some of the dark, open, personal, eerie content is gone the lyrics stand out. Even the final track which just reading the title tells you all you need to know contains powerful empathy that all parents deal with. Its almost as if Isbell only knows how to write great lyrics - no filler - no cliche. My only complaint is that the record seems short. I feel like there are about 4-5 tracks on the cutting room floor that may have pushed this effort into a blah record, but these 10 were enough to show how many more steps there are in the journey. The highlights for me are definitely the opening “What Have I Done to Help?” A great question for any human being who complains about a world on fire. “Overseas” has a wonderful melody and is an allegorical song according to Isbell which is odd because I wondered myself how he felt when Shires goes on tour without him? All the other songs tackle some sort of “issue” and all deserve multiple listens to absorb the message. However, I’m curious to see what comes next? Not that I’m already disposing of this album, but he has succeeded in that I’m left wanting more! Will he fall off the wagon? Will his marriage suffer some bumps and bruises? Will the band change? It almost feels like some of that has to happen for him to continue this unbelievable streak of brilliance. Isbell himself says he writes about his life. If he’s not dealing with “something” can he write great music? I for one think he will instead become a voice for others. He will become an observer who is able to encapsulate others emotions and life situations into beautiful music. He will be able to look at the world and not just “talk” but help people think and act. Great musicians don’t need to keep falling down the abyss to be great even though that’s what got him here. Reunions feels like Isbell’s way of telling us he is moving on with his life, but he has not forgotten what brought him here, but it doesn’t mean he has to be that person forever. As the album cover speaks to me: he is a small figure under a big tapestry and he’s just getting started.
Maybe the greatest regardless of age, and this album adds to the already incredible catalog dating back to the DBT days. It’s fresh and familiar at the same time. If this is your introduction to JI&400U it is a good one. If you’re a long-standing fan you will feel as if you’ve grown with the band.
This album is great lyrically and the guitars and other instruments sound great. The one star reviews are mainly driven by politics which I don’t understand why you would care so much about if the person is democratic or republican you should decide your review based on whether you like the music or not
This is yet another masterpiece. The man has talent that comes along once in a lifetime. People have been hesitant to put him up with the all-time greats, maybe because of his age, but this record seals the case that he is in the group. I had already thought that, but maybe everybody else will. Also, Jimbo,Derry, Sadler,Amanda,and Chad just kill it. There were some early reviews about the “political songs” on this record. If you think that, you need to seek out professional help. Being a decent person is not political. Buy this record.
I’m amazed that Jason can continue to write such original music. Every song makes you think. Jason can rip at your heartstrings. In my opinion he is at the top when it comes to writing and performing
There are only a few artists in every generation who possess the songwriting ability of Jason Isbell. His songs are able to reach deep into your soul and convey emotions and themes that are are universal and personal at the same time. This is not a political album. Simply another superb album by Isbell!!!
Reunions of mental pastime and nostalgic youthful nights of innocence, finding purpose in helping others to follow honest pursuits; a beautiful mental excursion. Another week and waiting for what’s next....thank you for sharing your music, I think it helps people be more reflective and it brings joy and hope to a lot of folks, Thanks man
What a lot of mediocre music - and he’s messed up Amanda Shires at the same time. What on earth is happening ? Lyrics may be telling but really nothing else, same music as 3000 other bands and if you get out of the commercial “measure” of a band/musician, there are hundreds providing really something to marvel and wonder at (both lyrically and musically). You just need to look for them instead of being fed the “norm” which I’m afraid this is. Spend lockdown time searching and investigating outside this commercial conveyor and you really could be surprised.
So far, the 5 songs released have all been amazing. Very diverse songs, both musically and lyrically. I like that Jason tackles a bunch of different subjects in his songs, things other artists rarely sing about. This is a very thought-provoking album, definitely in a good way.
I feel like Dreamsicle copied the riff from “The Part of Him” by Drive By Truckers (which is a great song) and the melody just isn’t hitting me right. I dont know, i bet the rest of the album will be good but i just really dont like Dreamsicle.
Maybe better than The Nashville Sound. Isbell remains a distinctive voice in American songwriting. And to all of those bemoaning his politics, did you think The Day John Henry Died and Dress Blues were apolitical?
Man, I tell you - it’s amazing how stupid people try to be to push their own political agendas while bashing an artist for writing honestly and from the heart in what I really don’t see political as much as Jason isbell sharing a personal state of being. Dude, it’s ok, the North south / left right war is alive and still crappy in America - let the music just speak to you as it’s meant to be, personally subjective. Maybe this is your thing you feel guilty about? Lol - everything I’ve heard so far I love, and especially coming at a time for me where Nashville has been hit so hard lately, tornado and virus both.. hope is never a bad thing, no matter what side of the isle you live on people. ✌️
Couldn’t care less about his politics, but the music isn’t good on these first 3 releases. I waited to comment until I heard more than just 1 song, but couldn’t wait anymore. It’s just not what I expect from Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. I expect better music, timing, sound and messages. Just like most of the 1 star reviews, I’ll save my money next time.
Ignore the one-star reviews because of politics. Some folks have come to be the very “snowflakes” they hate. The first three songs released on this album are stellar. Really good music goes beyond politics.