How Jason Isbell makes being a vampire romantic

-Hilton Peeples, Assistant Festival Director

Jason Isbell always pours his soul into his work. It’s evident that he can take real life experiences and turn them into something captivating and beautiful. His recently released album, “The Nashville Sound,” gives me all kinds of emotions, beginning with blood boiling anger due to the reality of “White Man’s World.” My emotions then manifest into tears of joy as I listen to the genuine story of the lasting love and the concept of forever in “If We Were Vampires.” The lyrics to the latter are beautifully haunting: “Likely one of us will have to spend some time alone. Maybe we’ll get 40 years together, but one day I’ll be gone or one day you’ll be gone.” Jason Isbell has without a doubt created another masterpiece and a perfect follow up to his 2015 album, “Something More Than Free.”

Every lyric on this album is genuine. The weight behind each lyric is intensified by the addition of his wife Amanda Shires’ vocals and violin playing. Fatherhood has created something new in Isbell, something beautiful and moving that comes across in very authentic ways throughout the album.

“Anxiety” is one of my favorites of this album; it’s also the one where his parenting is comes through the strongest to me. “You can’t see the world the same after something like that happens,” Isbell said about the birth of their first child. “I’ve started noticing things that I’ve never noticed before, which is a blessing. Anything that makes you do that, shows you another curtain being pulled away, is really great, but it makes me mad and scared. So that was going to find its way onto any work that I do.” Isbell said in an interview.

Isbell get s a little more country that we are used to with “Something to Love.” But, it sounds like a song to his daughter, Mercy. Isbell sings, “I hope you find something to love, something to do when you feel like giving up, a song to sing or a tale to tell.” He follows these lines with, “Just find what makes you happy girl and do it ‘till you’re gone.” I hear this and I am instantly reminded of my dad. It sounds like something he would have said to me as a teenager, reminding me that all I have to do is find something I love and work my ass off until I become who I want it to become.

Every song has a piece of Jason’s life over the years in it – his marriage, becoming a father and just every day realities of life. Download it, listen to it on repeat, you’ll be glad you did.

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