Splice Magazine

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

There’s a popular saying these days that “one should always go to the show”. Often as an adult, and with all the responsibilities that come with that,  I’ve found that mantra isn’t always possible, especially when the show is at bucket list venues like The Ryman Auditorium or Red Rocks Amphitheater. Luckily, there are artists like Jason Isbell who make live albums at some of these hallowed venues and share them with those that haven’t yet been lucky enough to experience him live.

Live From the Ryman is the product of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s six night sell-out at the Ryman Auditorium in 2017. The album features 13 tracks of which are selected from their last three albums: Southeastern (2013), Something More Than Free (2015) and The Nashville Sound (2017). Having never had the opportunity to catch Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit live, this album was a small preview into what I could expect and I loved what I heard.

The album is rocking right out of the gate with Isbell on electric guitar on the track“Hope the High Road” and sets up high expectations for the rest of the album, of which I feel are met.  Amanda Shires and her haunting fiddle playing on the song “Cover Me Up” is goosebump inducing and the crowd singalong to “Last of My Kind” lends itself to a more authentic feeling of actually being part of the Ryman crowd.

I was glad to see my favorite song, “If We Were Vampires” made the album. Isbell and Amanda Shires are flawless as usual in this song, but there is something about hearing the crowds excitement captured at the beginning of the track that makes this song even better to me. My only two complaints about the album are that it’s not longer and although Isbell’s vocals shine, I wish at times that I could hear more of The 400 Unit, as they are such an incredibly talented band.

If you’re at all a fan of Jason Isbell  you’ll want to pick up this album and if you’re not, give this album a listen and you will be. Live from the Ryman is available on all platforms on October 19th. Isbell and The 400 Unit will be back at the Ryman, October 22nd-28th for what is sure to be another solid six nights of performances. For those that aren’t lucky enough to catch them at such a historic venue, they’ll be on tour in the South until the end of the year.


Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit:


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