Note: This is Jason Isbell’s debut solo album. He was one of the three singer/songwriter/guitarists in Drive-By Truckers, and in my opinion, his best contributions to the band were “Outfit,” “Danko/Manuel” and “Never Gonna Change.”
Also Note: His departure from Drive-By Truckers earlier this year was reportedly amicable, and actually three members of the band (frontman Patterson Hood, bassist Shonna Tucker and drummer Brad Morgan) perform on the album. Plus Patterson co-produced the disc with Jason.
Sound: Rootsy, alt country and bluesy rock that alternates between mellow and mid-tempo and favors classic blues progressions more than his work with the Truckers did. Jason’s weathered-but-sweet melodies drive his poignant descriptions.
Heavy Rotation tracks: “Dress Blues”; “Try”
Medium Rotation tracks: “The Magician”; “In A Razor Town”; “Grown”; “Down In a Hole”
Recommended: None of the tracks on Sirens of the Ditch quite match up to his best work with Drive-By Truckers, but a handful of both the gritty and tender ones would fit nicely on a Truckers album. Unfortunately, he also takes this solo opportunity to dabble in some more conventional/standard blues/roots territory, which often feels kind of safe and stodgy. This is a decent debut effort, but I wanted some more memorable moments from my favorite Drive-By Truckers songwriter.