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Former member of Drive-By-Truckers, singer-songwriter Jason Isbell (born February 1st, 1979) went solo in 2007, forging a sound that is instilled with a rootsy, southern swagger, whilst also offering country ballads full of melancholy and themes of redemption.
Growing up in rural Alabama, US, Isbell was surrounded by music from a young age as his large extended family were often playing instruments and making music together, honing his talents at high school and university through playing in various country cover bands. He joined Drive-By-Truckers at the age of 21, remaining with the band for six years, helping to write a number of their songs that went on to critical and commercial success.
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By 2007, Isbell had left the group in order to forge a solo career, releasing his debut album, “Sirens of the Ditch,” a bluesy, punk tinged record that was very much rooted in the sound of the South. He then formed his backing band, the 400 Unit and began touring extensively, before returning to the studio in 2008. In the following year, his sophomore effort, “Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit” was released, which took another musical direction, favouring tender country ballads in the same vein as Muscle Schoals.
Isabel toured relentlessly for two years, playing an average of 200 shows annually. In 2010, he took a break from being on the road, returning home to Alabama, an area that had been hit hard by the economic recession. Whilst here, he began to write a new collection of songs that focused on the character so of the area, with simple honest songs that reflected the rural country and lifestyle. “Here We Rest” came out in 2011, an album that was warmly received by critics. A year later, Isbell followed “Here We Rest” with a live album, “Live From Alabama, which was recorded at the Workday Theater in Birmingham, US and at the Crossroads venue in Huntsville, Alabama, US. Isabel then returned to the studio for 2013’s “Southeastern,” an album that held a theme of redemption and sombre atonement, reflective of Isbell’s newfound sobriety. The album received massive critical acclaim, with Isbell sweeping up several awards at the 2014 Americana Music Awards, for ‘Album of the Year,’ ‘Artist of the Year’ and ’Song of the Year.’