Jason Isbell @ City Winery / Nashville TN / December 29, 2014

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Sorry, but no apologies for all the attention given to Jason Isbell in this space. Even though he is still riding the wave of a record almost two years old (Southeastern), I simply have not tired of its songs—especially hearing Jason perform them live.

This time out, Jason filed a break in a steady touring schedule with three solo shows at Nashville’s newest and brightest small venue. It was only two months ago that the now-resident of nearby Hermitage sold out three nights at the Ryman. There was no doubt that these shows at a room roughly one-tenth the size would be an instant sell-out.

Following a morning announcement by radio station Lightning 100 and a later email blast from the Winery, at the 3 p.m. Friday afternoon sale time, Isbell fans overloaded the venue website and the tickets were gone in a frustrating flash. The initial two-show offering was quietly expanded to three, and count yours truly among those lucky few who were able to get a reservation for the final night.

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Like Jason does for most hometown shows, he brought along his lovely wife, Amanda Shires. She and bassist Stephanie Dickinson opened the shows and Amanda later joined her husband on fiddle for most of his 130-minute set. Jason earlier made his first appearance of the night supporting Amanda as “Mr. Shires” playing slide on a sleek new silver guitar.

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Over three nights, Jason spiced up his set list with some old solo and Drive-By Truckers tunes as well as some of the covers he has played in the past. While hoping that 2015 will bring forth a new Isbell record, sadly, he played no new songs in his set.

Not seeing Jason in band mode makes me miss his blistering electric guitar prowess (e.g. “Super 8 Motel”). However, in solo format, I really appreciate the added focus on the raw power of his strong dynamic voice (e.g. “Cover Me Up”). All things equal, I enjoy both experiences and hope to see more of both in the future.

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SETLIST:

  1. Yvette
  2. Streetlights
  3. Stockholm
  4. Traveling Alone
  5. The Blue
  6. Different Days
  7. Tour of Duty
  8. Dress Blues
  9. Go It Alone
  10. Goddamn Lonely Love
  11. Live Oak
  12. Alabama Pines
  13. In a Razor Town
  14. Songs That She Sang in the Shower
  15. Cover Me Up
  16. Mutineer (Warren Zevon cover)
  17. Outfit
  18. Rebels (Tom Petty cover)
  19. Elephant

BAND:

Jason Isbell – Vocals and Acoustic Guitars
Amanda Shires – Fiddle and Backing Vocals

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