Southeastern, the new solo album from Jason Isbell, will be released on June 11 via Southeastern Records/Thirty Tigers. Southeastern 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 â€œCover Me Upâ€, 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 year 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 â€œStockholmâ€ (with Kim Richey) and â€œTraveling Aloneâ€ (with Amanda Shires) offer laid back tempos and memorable choruses, while â€œFlying Over Waterâ€ and â€œSuper 8â€ are strong reminders of Isbellâ€™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 â€œLive Oakâ€. â€œThereâ€™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 sheâ€™s pining for on nights Iâ€™m not around / could it be the man who did the things Iâ€™m living down.â€
Southeastern features 400 Unit members Derry deBorja (keyboards) and Chad Gamble (drums) along with Richey and Shires. The album was produced by Dave Cobb (Jamey Johnson, The Secret Sisters). Southeastern is Isbellâ€™s first solo album since his 2007 debut Sirens of the Ditch.
Since then he has recorded three acclaimed albums (two studio, one live) with his band The 400 Unit. 2011â€™s Here We Rest became Isbellâ€™s most celebrated effort to date, cracking the top 100 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart for the first time. Here We Rest received high praise from a wide range of media, including NPR, Associated Press, Esquire, GQ, SPIN, USA Today, Blurt, My Old Kentucky Blog and many more. Since the release, Isbell has made two appearances with the 400 Unit on The Late Show with David Letterman and his song â€œAlabama Pinesâ€ won SONG OF THE YEAR at the 2012 Americana Music Awards & Honors.