We begin our Bonnaroo Music Festival preview with a man in the midst of several new beginnings. Jason Isbell’s new album — Southeastern — drops tomorrow. Since his last release of new material, 2011’s Here We Rest, Isbell has kicked one habit (alcohol) and picked up another (his lovely wife and musician in her own right Amanda Shire).
On Friday afternoon, festival-goers will have a chance to hear Isbell in his latest incarnation. If early reviews are any indication, this might be the album that finally makes unnecessary the obligatory introductory sentence, “Isbell first gained fame as a member of the Southern alt-rock band Drive-By Truckers.”
Isbell DID first gain fame as a member of the Drive-By Truckers, but has more than made a name for himself since departing the band in 2007. He’s a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n roll and he’s earned his spot in the neo-Americana bro-pack that includes Ryan Adams (who drove him to rehab), Justin Townes Earle, Ryan Bingham, and Hayes Carll.
Can’t make it to Tennessee this weekend? Follow him on twitter @jasonisbell, where he’s both prolific and playful.