…I didn’t grow up wanting to be a country singer, and I still don’t really see myself as one,… I mean, I don’t feel like I have much in common with those folks. Their job is to sell out arenas. Mine is to make art. Big difference.
-Jason Isbell (Men’s Journal interview)
I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think that’s laziness.
-Jason Isbell (musicradar.com, 2016)
This is the first of five posts on Jason Isbell’s 25 best songs (in BTL’s humble opinion). We do (how can one not?) include his work together with the brilliant Drive-by Truckers.
Here are the first 5 songs (25-21 on our list).
25. Palmetto Rose
From the album “Something More Than Free” (2015).
Palmetto rose in the AC vent
Cross-stitched pillow where the head rest went
He said his cab was his orneriest friend
Left him jumping like trees in the wind
Live at House of Blues Boston, MA. – February 27, 2016
..a swampy, swinging rocker that takes an anthemic turn during every chorus. A tribute to Charleston, South Carolina — where, coincidentally, 400 Unit guitarist Sadler Vaden lived before relocating to Nashville in 2011 — the song has since become a staple of Isbell’s shows, even serving as the opening number during a recent show at the House of Blues in Boston. Slightly slower in tempo, “Palmetto Rose” takes on new life during the Boston performance, with Isbell and his five-piece band moving between the loose blues-rock of the song’s verses to a taut refrain.
This war that I wage to get up every day
It’s a fiberglass boat, it’s azaleas in May
It’s the women I love and the law that I hate
Lord, let me die in the Iodine State
Lord, let me die in the Iodine State
Well now I’m no hero
All the redemption I can offer, girl
Is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now?
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow
Back your hair
Well the nights busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere
Bruce is one of our greatest heroes. He’s still a rather young guy, and a celebration is due when he turns 68..
Here is my list of his 10 best songs.
1. Thunder Road
The screen door slams
Marys dress sways
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that’s me and I want you only
Live London 75:
1. Prove It All Night
I’ve been working real hard, trying to get my hands clean,
Tonight we’ll drive that dusty road from
Monroe to Angeline,
To buy you a gold ring and pretty dress of blue,
Baby just one kiss will get these things for you,
A kiss to seal our fate tonight,
A kiss to prove it all night.
A lot of wonderful music was released in 1979, here are my 20 chosen songs.
And the Healing Has Begun – Van Morrison
Released on his 1979 album, Into the Music.
– And we’ll walk down the avenue again
And we’ll sing all the songs from way back when
And we’ll walk down the avenue again and the healing has begun
And we’ll walk down the avenue in style
And we’ll walk down the avenue and we’ll smile
And we’ll say “baby, ain’t it all worthwhile?” when the healing has begun
I want you to put on your pretty summer dress
You can wear your Easter bonnet and all the rest
And I want to make love to you yes, yes, yes, when the healing has begun
A lot of exciting music was released in 1977, here are my 20 chosen songs.
Like a Hurricane – Neil Young
Written by Neil Young in 1975 and first released on the album American Stars ‘n Bars in 1977.
– Once I thought I saw you
in a crowded hazy bar,
Dancing on the light
from star to star.
Far across the moonbeam
I know that’s who you are,
I saw your brown eyes
turning once to fire.
Heaps of wonderful music was released in 1971, here are my 30 chosen songs.
Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones
A song by The Rolling Stones from their 1971 album Sticky Fingers, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Rolling Stone ranked it at No. 334 in its “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list in 2004.
– Childhood living is easy to do The things you wanted I bought them for you Graceless lady you know who I am You know I can’t let you slide through my hands