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Audio CD, June 11, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Southeastern, the new solo album from Jason Isbell, contains 12 new Isbell compositions and the most personal songs of self-reflection and discovery he has written to date. The lyrics of the beautiful and haunting opening track Cover Me Up, make it immediately apparent that Isbell is speaking from an entirely new viewpoint. The song features his strongest vocals to date, but also kicks the door to his soul wide open for all to see. Isbell struggled, fought his demons, and has remained sober for over a hear now. Also, he was recently married and has entered the next chapter of his life. However, Southeastern is not an album preaching sobriety, but a work of repentance, self-realization and most importantly, personal growth.

By no means is Southeastern a wholly solemn offering. Tracks such as Stockholm (with Kim Richey) and Traveling Alone (with Amanda Shires) offer laid back tempos and memorable choruses, while Flying Over Water and Super 8 are strong reminders of Isbell's deep roots in rock. The poetic and deeply intimate lyrics are the common thread that runs throughout the album, perhaps no better illustrated than on Live Oak.

- There's a man who walks beside me, he is who I used to be / and I wonder if she sees him and confuses him with me / and I wonder who she's pining for on nights I'm not around / could it be the man who did the things I'm living down. -
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 11, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Southeastern Records
  • ASIN: B00CCEHS48
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (532 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #595 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 11, 2013
Format: Audio CD
I think this is something rather special. This was an almost random selection for me on a vague recommendation and it turned out to be an outstanding album of real quality, with fine songs and excellent performances.

The album has a feel of singer-songwriter about it. Even though there is some lovely support work from a band and some other singers in places (including the very good Kim Richey), the real impact is from Jason Isbell's fine singing and guitar work. There is a melancholy air over the album, with the songs dealing with loneliness, broken relationships, human flaws and the like. This sounds very miserable but isn't; Isbell creates lovely singable melodies with excellent arrangements and production, and a variety of tones from solo voice and guitar to full rock band sound. It is certainly often poignant and touching but somehow never depressing.

What makes this quite exceptionally good, though, is Isbell's lyrics, in my view. He tells stories and conjures emotional states with exceptional depth and it gives the songs real impact. This is at its most raw in Elephant, a stunning song about a friend dying of cancer. There are a lot of great lines in it, like "Surrounded by family, I saw that she was dying alone..." I have had far more experience of loved ones dying of cancer than any one person ought and, among the euphemism and untruth the living comfort themselves with, it is very unusual to find anyone with the perceptiveness and insight to see the truth and the courage to speak it. I think it's a remarkable song, and Isbell brings a similar level of thoughtfulness and honesty to many of the songs on this album.

It is always a joy to discover new music of this quality, and I will certainly be listening to Jason Isbell's back-catalogue very soon. For now, I'm listening to this album repeatedly and getting more out of it each time. I'd recommend this very warmly to anyone who likes beautiful, thoughtful and intelligent songs.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Fiona on June 11, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Having been a fan of Jason Isbell since his days with the Drive-By Truckers, I was excited and also concerned about the direction his latest album would take. Much of the focus on Jason in the last year was on his sobriety and marriage to Amanda Shires. What was that going to do to the Jason Isbell I knew and loved? Would his songwriting slip? Well, after finally hearing this album, it absolutely did not slip! "Southeastern" is his most personal, raw and haunting album to date. His songwriting just seems to keep improving and I feel this is his best work yet. Every song on the album evokes a different feeling and emotion for me, which is what I like in my music. "Cover Me Up" opens the album as a love song of sorts, but nothing typical or like you'd expect. Following it with "Stockholm" is genius, in my opinion as it's like a continuation of a story to me. But there is some very heavy stuff in this album. "Elephant" is simply heartbreaking and I believe most people can put themselves in that song. "Yvette" is a haunting tale of abuse. "Live Oak" is a great use of Jason's amazing vocals. One fun, but still troubling, track in the middle of it all is "Super 8", which he exclaims "Don't want to die in a Super 8 motel!" and it's pure rock. I could go on about each song on the album but I recommend just getting it for yourself. It is amazing. And one last thing about the songs on this album, they stick with you. I can't get them out of my head, which is a good thing!
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 15, 2013
Format: Audio CD
At long last Jason Isbell has delivered that great classic album that he always threatened to make. From his days as a key component in the Deep South's best band the Drive By Truckers to his excellent debut "Sirens of the Ditch", Isbell has produced songs of the highest quality and delivery. Yet even die hard Isbell supporters began to lose faith in later albums culminating with the mixed bag of 2011's "Here we rest" which languishes on this reviewers I Pod like an abandoned prisoner with only "Alabama Pines" allowed out in the exercise yard. The new album "Southeastern" is the product of Isbell going through recovery and cleaning up his act on the Jack Daniels front. More importantly he has found a soulmate and fell in love with musician Amanda Shires who plays on this album (his previous marriage to the DBTs Shonna Tucker fell apart and contributed to his departure from the band). It appears that cupid's intervention has done him a power of good since the fog that enveloped "Here we rest" has lifted and every song on this record basks in radiant clarity. Isbell's often-underplayed strength has been his ear for a classic ballad including stunners like "Dress Blues". On "Southeastern" they populate the album in abundance, not least "Cover me up" a tough song about addictions and passion with has nice Beatles like undercurrent melody. The line "girl leave your boots by the bed, we ain't leaving this room 'til someone needs medical help or the magnolias bloom." is classic. What is also noticeable is how much his voice has improved. The good ole Southern twang is still there but its now more mainstream American if that makes sense and it works.Read more ›
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Gary D. Bennett on August 15, 2013
Format: MP3 Music
When I ride down the road listening to "Southeastern" (it's superb driving music, by the way), I find myself constantly rewinding. Why? It's the lyrics. I go back to hear a certain phrase, the way he strings words together, the wry and elusive nature of his songs. I'm 60 years old, been through Dylan, Joni, N. Young, etc. This is right up there with them. Plus: it's great music. It rocks. In a year where I've already heard 1/2 dozen really great new albums, this one stands out. Record of the Year so far.
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