Jason Isbell’s lyrics on Southeastern

If you haven’t listened to Jason Isbell’s album Southeastern, I highly recommend it. I believe it’s one of the best albums of the last several years in any genre remotely adjacent to it.

His lyrics especially are just spectacular. He wrote much of this album during & after recovering from alcohol and drug abuse, and it shows. The lyrics are simple, eloquent, and often cutting.

I’m not sure why it strikes me so much, but if you want an example, check out “Elephant”. It’s a dark song about the impending death of a friend due to cancer. The lyrics are haunting:

I’ve listened to some of the Drive-By Truckers stuff since his departure and it just doesn’t compare. And Isbell’s subsequent album was unimpressive. I hope it’s not his last great work.