It took awhile for Jason Isbell to reach his full potential as a solo artist.
After blowing minds by writing one of the greatest songs ever about fatherly advice, “Outfit,” as his debut tune of his stint in Drive-by Truckers and and following that with killers like “The Day John Henry Died,” and “Goddamn Lonely Love“, his first few solo albums didn’t really live up to his enormous potential.
That all changed with 2013’s Southeastern, a more subdued affair that coincided with Isbell’s getting both sober and married, which, of course, wasn’t really a coincidence at all, as clearly he’s one of those people who need to be centered to do his best work.
In 2015, he followed Southeastern with his best record yet, Something More Than Free, which was somewhat more band-oriented.
While there quite a few great songs on Something More Than Free — I gravitate towards the soaring guitar at the ending of “Children of Children” or the subdued splendor of “Speed Trap Town” — the one that always gets me is “24 Frames,” which has a chorus that matches his best work with DBT.
You thought God was an architect, now you know
He’s something like a pipe bomb ready to blow
And everything you built that’s all for show
Goes up in flames
In twenty- four frames
After the chorus comes a slide guitar hook that’s as simple and profound as the lyrics, and might even be the first thing you notice about the entire song. But if so, it’s hardly the last. Just a few years ago, I was worried that Isbell had peaked at an incredibly young age, but now I can’t wait to see what he does next.
“24 Frames” performed live in 2015
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