Review: Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free (Southeastern)

Jason IsbellThere is a quiet grace to Something More Than Free, the newest album from Alabama roots-rock singer-songwriter Jason Isbell that is likely to resonate with all those fortunate enough to hear it. A masterful story-teller in the vein of Townes Van Zandt, Isbell sings with a reserved, inspired dignity, bringing the listener into his world via lyrics that manage to paint vivid imagery of everyday, run-of-the-mill battles fought by protagonists of all stripes: He sings of his teenage mother and the years he took “just by being born” on “Children of Children,” evoking similarly strong emotions on “The Life You Chose,” while on the album’s title track and “If It Takes A Lifetime,” Isbell’s blue-collar roots shine through. It is that everyman persona that ultimately makes each of the songs on Something More Than Free something that will help endear this record to listeners for generations to come.