…when ninety-nine and a half won’t do.
Live From Alabama
This is what a live record should be. This is a definitive look at a band at the top of their game. A moment in 4/4 time that combines where they are with where they came from, along with a hint as to where they’re going. Isbell writes potent songs that mix rock, country and soulful blues and here, he blends songs from his time with the Drive-By Truckers, more recent work, and two covers (Muscle Shoals soul singer Candi Staton’s Love On a String and a powerful take on Neil Young’s Like A Hurricane).
Picks: Decoration Day, Alabama Pines.
We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This
The title’s an inside joke, an offhand comment. But no one could be better than Darrell Scott and Tim O’Brien, two of the most respected and accomplished multi-instrumentalists in Nashville, sitting down in a live environment to play acoustic music together. The thirteen tracks, culled from two benefits in 2005 and 2006, feature originals and covers by Gordon Lightfoot, Hank Williams, Keith Whitley and Townes Van Zandt, and are filled with jaw-dropping, virtuoso picking and airtight harmonies. And I thought they couldn’t be any better than 2000s Real Time.
Picks: Scott’s Long Time Gone and Van Zandt’s White Freightliner Blues.