Great Album: Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free

jason isbell something more than free

[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 –

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 (

Something More Than Free @ KUTX Austin:



Something More Than Free
Studio album by Jason Isbell
Released July 17, 2015
Genre Alternative country
Length 43:55
Label Southeastern Records
Producer Dave Cobb

Something More Than Free is the fifth studio album by Jason Isbell. It was produced by Dave Cobb, who also produced Isbell’s last record, Southeastern.

The single ’24 Frames’ peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Triple A chart and at No. 42 on Rock Airplay.

jason isbell

24 Frames (Lyric Video):

But Something More Than Free makes clear Southeastern was no fluke; the insights Isbell gained as a songwriter are just as evident on these 11 songs, and as a performer he’s attained a nuanced maturity that demonstrates how far he’s come since his days with the Drive-By Truckers (where he already sounded like a prodigy), but without a hint of pretension. Southeastern was a triumph from a talented songwriter and vocalist who stepped up to a new level; Something More Than Free shows Jason Isbell knows he just got there, and is still making use of that hard-won knowledge — it confirms his status as a major artist.
~Mark Deming (

Track listing

No. Title Length
1. “If It Takes a Lifetime” 3:43
2. “24 Frames” 3:16
3. “Flagship” 3:52
4. “How to Forget” 4:06
5. “Children of Children” 5:52
6. “The Life You Chose” 4:05
7. “Something More Than Free” 3:33
8. “Speed Trap Town” 4:04
9. “Hudson Commodore” 3:26
10. “Palmetto Rose” 4:06
11. “To a Band That I Loved”

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Album @ Spotify