Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound

by D. Lee

Do you remember when country music sounded like country music and pop music sound like pop music. Well, so does Jason and with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit he has released The Nashville Sound. Although he has been exploring a solo career, this reunion with his backing band is something special and yes, it sounds like COUNTRY MUSIC! Produced by Dave Cobb, his third consecutive record with Isbell, The Nashville Sound is a treat to listen to, and there is plenty of attention to detail.

The ten songs on The Nashville Sound are intimate and deal with a range of subjects. The 400 Unit is tight as always. Isbell’s voice matches the anguish and frailness of our humanity in “If We Were Vampires.” The pairing of his voice, with a female voice in harmony, was a good decision and adds to both the color of the melody and the meaning of the lyrics.

“Cumberland Gap” gets a little rowdy, with tastefully distorted guitar and Isbell digging deep to convey the emotion of a small-town boy with dreams of growth. Isbell’s upper register singing is strong and his range is heard on this tune; fine singing, a catchy beat and solid subject matter, equals a great song, and Isbell is up the task.

The Nashville Sound might have its moments of rock ‘n’ roll, but Isbell stays true to his songwriting style. His pen addresses life in America and is still focused on the everyday folk who live it.  Isbell states it best; “You might shed some tears, but for once, there’s a chance you might also dance a little.” So here is to the celebration, as The Nashville Sound is a true win.

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