Last night, I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Jason Isbell perform at The Peabody Opera House in Saint Louis, in all his solo, acoustic, countrified glory. He immediately made me swoon with his use of the term “fuck aroundery,” and as I watched him play songs like today’s Jam of the Day, “Alabama Pines,” I slowly melted into my seat from his endearing and heartfelt delivery, his graceful guitar playing, his good ol’ boy stage banter. I mean: fuck aroundery. C’mon. You can’t beat that with a stick.
It was the eve of Isbell’s birthday, and the headliner for the night, Ryan Adams, pulled him back onstage near the end of the show for an audience round of “Happy Birthday.” Adams, a masterful songwriter himself, in my humble opinion, declared that he should hate Isbell because he was such a fine songwriter. He went on to say that if Isbell’s songs got into a bar fight with his own, Isbell’s would kick his songs’ collective ass.
That hyperbole carries with it some truth. Jason Isbell’s most recent release, with his band the 400 Unit, came out last April. Last night inspired me to revisit this album and pull a track to share with you. If you, for some reason, haven’t yet given it a whirl, listen to “Alabama Pines” below and pick up Here We Rest immediately.