Jason Isbell // Something More Than Free
Jason Isbell uses the quiet spaces on the album to his advantage, which channels a quiet devastion.
Something More Than Free
Jason Isbell knows that you don't need to be loud to grab someone's attention. You won't find the squalling guitars of songs like "Decoration Day" from his time with Drive-by Truckers on Something More Than Free, his latest album. Instead, Isbell uses the quiet spaces to his advantages, adding extra heft to his words on "Flagship," as his voice lightly echoes over a gently-strummed guitar. Like his 2013 release Southeastern, Isbell channels a quiet devastation, singing tales of plain folks trying to make life a little bit better. Isbell adds a special weight to his words, giving each song a sincerity that fits the lovely arrangements. When Isbell finally does add some electric grit, songs like "Palmetto Rose" and "24 Frames" provide an extra punch to help balance out the intimate moments. Whether he's channeling country-tinged ballads or heartland rock, Something More Than Free is a success. – Alex Bieler