Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Something More Than Free

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Something More Than Free

Article excerpt

SOMETHING MORE THAN FREE

Jason Isbell (Southeastern Records, 2015)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The release of Jason Isbell's Something More Than Free was as much of a mainstream media event as one can expect in this age of audience fragmentation. The album debuted at the top of the Billboard charts in country, rock, and folk, and it garnered Isbell profiles everywhere from The New Yorker to NPR.

The media buzz on Isbell has only increased since his last effort, Southeastern, which came with a ready-made storyline about the Alabama singer's admission of alcoholism and pursuit of sobriety, all against a backdrop of true love with his soulmate, singer-songwriter and violinist Amanda Shire. And this year's stories have mostly recycled that narrative.

But the media ballyhoo isn't just hype: He's really that good. With the flair of the South's great fiction writers, Isbell's lyrics evoke the complex inner lives of people who spend their days filling holes and loading boxes. …

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