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Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

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Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

After spending six years with Southern rock outfit Drive-By Truckers, singer/guitarist Jason Isbell left the group in 2007 to pursue a solo career. Isbell had already honed his songwriting skills during his tenure with the Truckers, and he funneled those talents into Sirens of the Ditch, a bluesy, punk-infused lesson in guitar tones and Southern swagger that marked his solo debut in summer 2007. Backed by a new band dubbed the 400 Unit, Isbell took his songs on the road and soon began penning another album, which he recorded with the 400 Unit in 2008. Released the following year, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit was another step away from his work with Drive-By Truckers, relying as much on sad, melancholic country ballads as the familiar Muscle Shoals sound.

After performing more than 200 shows annually for several years running, Isbell took a breather in 2010 and returned home to northern Alabama. The area had been hit hard by the recent economic downturn, prompting Isbell to write a new batch of songs about the war vets, barflies, and out-of-luck characters who populated the area. The result was Here We Rest, which was released in spring 2011 to critical acclaim. Isbell followed it a year later in 2012 with a live set, Live from Alabama, recorded at the WorkPlay Theater in Birmingham, Alabama and at the Crossroads in Huntsville, Alabama. Embracing his newfound sobriety, Isbell next produced an album of haunting atonement and redemption, the sparse and impressive Southeastern, which appeared in 2013.

eMusic Features


A Field Report from the New Country

By Lenny Kaye, Contributor

Whither country music - or will it wither? Most of the c&w on strut at the recent CMA awards had more to do with 80's power-rock and 00's teen-pop than the morning farm report. In recent years, an alt-country movement in such Willy-billy suburbs as Brooklyn's Williamsburg has waved a country flag, along with a taste for trucker's caps and Pabst Blue Ribbon. This isn't a sudden outcropping on the range; ever since Gram Parsons… more »


  • 07.02.15 RT @amandashires: Come see me play music on August 7 in Nashville @CityWineryNSH! Tix here- http://t.co/yCjhczV0lM
  • 07.02.15 RT @KUTX: An exclusive performance from @JasonIsbell. A brand new song from his upcoming album. #VuHaus http://t.co/G27olV3av8 http://t.co/…
  • 07.01.15 RT @SoutheasternRec: .@JasonIsbell All 250 wristbands for a signed LP & free poster @Grimeys on 7/17 are SOLD OUT. However, weather permitt…
  • 07.01.15 RT @POTUS: was listening to outkast/liberation and the black keys/lonely boy this morning. https://t.co/1DP6CRdwlm
  • 07.01.15 And to y'all standing in line in the rain, you each kick ass. Thank you. https://t.co/mgvt698i6H
  • 07.01.15 RT @JuliThanki: A @JasonIsbell outdoor in-store at @Grimeys? With a BBQ truck? YES, PLEASE. http://t.co/PYkG7ftCAr
  • 06.30.15 That number is 865-497-3828, folks. https://t.co/w3Sg6Wph9I
  • 06.30.15 RT @amazonmusic: Go inside the ACL Hall of Fame induction, ft Loretta Lynn, Dwight Yoakam, Jason Isbell & more http://t.co/BNqSYzM2I9 http:…
  • 06.30.15 RT @JerryDouglas: I will be a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air this afternoon.You will hear about my life and career, including my work... http://t…
  • 06.30.15 Loretta Lynn as Attorney General, now Kris Kristofferson running for president? Things are gonna change, I can FEEL IT
  • 06.30.15 "What's my purpose on Earth if I'm not playing solos?" Good ol' Richard Thompson in @Salon, talmbout what matters. http://t.co/ENX5nksYs9
  • 06.30.15 RT @Grimeys: Thank you @WellsAdams, @JasonIsbell, & @Lightning100 for announcing our #Outstore on July 17. It's gonna be awesome!! #Somethi…