Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Album Review: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Live From the Ryman

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Live From the Ryman
** out of *****

Jason Isbell is an amazing songwriter as his recent run of outstanding records (Southeastern, Something More Than Free and The Nashville Sound) has placed him at the center of the Americana scene with southern version of Bruce Springsteen small town tales. He is also a whip crack live performer who can solo and move in/out with his longtime live band The 400 Unit. Unfortunately the combos newest release, Live From the Ryman does not prove the live part of that assertion and the songs all sound better on the studio efforts.

Having seen Isbell multiple times the performer puts energy and class into his playing, but one of the coolest things is how he mixes in covers and his Drive-By Trucker tunes to give a complete overview of things. Live From the Ryman dos not contain any of that, instead you just get note for not recreations of his recent songs which is fine just not very essential.

In truth the only tunes which deviate much from the originals are "Last of My Kind" which contains delicate solos from most of the band members, the bombastic ending of "Cover Me Up" and the punchy opening "Hope The High Road".  The rest are just fine live versions and even these small changes to the originals are never must hear. This is professional yet completely inconsequential and dull; had we not already mentioned them, this album would have been included in 2018's biggest let downs

The artwork is perhaps the best part of the vinyl and while it is highly recommend to see Isbell live, skipping this record and just re-listening to the studio originals is probably the best bet. The 400 Unit may have a great live album in them, but Live From the Ryman is not it.     
Support the artist, buy the record and peep some video below:

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