[about the album title]
It seemed to be a good point of reference for the sort of life that I have now. Freedom is a means to an end. Very often you hear people putting so much emphasis on having the freedom to choose, and living the lives that they want. And I understand that I have been very fortunate to be born into certain circumstances that allow me to do whatever I want to do, for the most part. But freedom can also be enough rope by which to hang yourself. I went through a long period of time where I didn’t have to answer to anybody, so I made a lot big mistakes: things that I don’t necessarily regret now — because I learned from them — but I overdosed on that freedom for a while. I think as you get older, if you mature and grow in the right way, then eventually you realize it’s not really freedom that you’re fighting for. It’s what that freedom can get you. It’s freedom combined with the ability to make good decisions and align your priorities correctly. The ability to make those decisions is a privilege that not everybody has.
~Jason Isbell (to Caitlin White – stereogum.com)
The Alabama-raised songwriter’s new collection, set to his trademark country-tinged soft rock, is populated with everyday snapshots from the modern South — from the young man fleeing his too-small hometown in “Speed Trap Town” to the law-defying South Carolinian telling a “bullshit story about the Civil War” on the murky blues rocker “Palmetto Rose.” On the latter, Isbell ponders hundreds of years of national history with conflicting shame and pride, before arriving at a very American conclusion: “I follow my own free will,” he sings, “and I take in my fill.” It’s a master class in songwriting from an artist who’s never sounded more confident.
~Jonathan Bernstein (rollingstone.com)