On April 5, 2007, Jason Isbell announced that he was no longer a member of Drive-By Truckers. But the hard truth so far has been that Isbell's solo career hasn't lived up to the promise he showed during his stint with Truckers.
On the surface, his third album appears to suffer the same fault of underperforming, but there are diamonds in the track list that need to be explored, starting with the opener, Alabama Pines, a soft-spoken lament about a man so lonely he says he doesn't even need a name. Then there's the rolling country shuffle and sing-along chorus of Codeine, a standout not just for the humour and peculiarity of the details, but for the way Isbell captures the moment with absolute brilliance, that strange depressing state of mind in the infant stages after a breakup.
Heart on a String is a lived-in and ferocious cover of Mickey Buckins and George Jackson's song where the 400 Unit lay down a funk groove that rivals anything anyone has done, and Never Could Believe is a rollicking bit of piano blues seeped in southern cool.
Here We Rest
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Lightning Rod Records