ARTIST: Jason Isbell
TITLE: Sirens of the Ditch
YEAR RELEASED: 2007
CHART ACTION: #10 Heatseekers, #33 Independent
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Dress Blues was covered by the Zac Brown Band.
LINEUP: Jason Isbell, David Barbe, Mike Dillon, David Hood, Patterson Hood, Brad Morgan, John Neff, Spooner Oldham, Shonna Tucker
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First solo album from ex-Drive-By Trucker mines the same characters and stories as his old band, with good to great results.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: For several years, Isbell was the changeup to Patterson Hood’s fastball in the Drive-By Truckers. It’s only logical that as he grew as a songwriter that he would want to go solo, and so when he left DBT this solo album answered the questions about Isbell leaving the band.,
It’s a character-driven album, full of stories about small town folks struggling to find a future given their situation. The music isn’t as dense as the DBT – Isbell gives his songs some lightness and some room. Still, it’s a debut solo album that is safely in the wheelhouse of the fans of the band, and sets the stage of Isbell’s later successes.
NOTES & MINUTAE: This album was recorded over a five-year period with Patterson Hood co-producing, so the band knew Isbell was going to leave at some point.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B+: A good, sometimes great, album that proves Isbell’s chops as a writer and singer beyond what role he had with his old band.