Photo by Danny Clinch


Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

July 7
7 p.m.
Americana, Rock, Singer-Songwriter

Since his days with the Drive-By Truckers, thoroughly Southern man Jason Isbell has written detailed, character-driven songs that often deal with common people marginalized by uncontrollable forces, bad choices, or both. Isbell’s new The Nashville Sound addresses changes that have come at last—good, bad, and otherwise—while balancing turbulent rockers, jangly country, and straight-up folk. He channels the quiet desperation of those at odds with the modern world (“Last of My Kind”) and sings about a nation at war with itself, race, and gender (“White Man’s World”). Even love and the joy of his young daughter are shadowed by death (“If We Were Vampires”) and stinging angst (“Anxiety”). But ultimately, TNS gives a positive spin to the future: “Hope the High Road” is a soaring Southern rock adrenalin jolt to transcend the last “son-of-a-bitch” year and find “Something to Love,” the buoyant Appalachian finale. The Mountain Goats open, no doubt focusing on Goths, John Darnielle’s fine new album about the nature of outsiders.