Jason Isbell may still be young, but he’s packed an enormous amount of musical experience into his 29 years. Growing up in a family of musicians, he absorbed everything he heard and began channeling it into guitar at age six and piano at 12. For the past six years, Isbell was one of three frontmen for the critically acclaimed Drive-By Truckers (DBT)—and although fans may have been shocked by his leaving the band in April, once you hear his solo debut Sirens Of The Ditch (which was co-produced by Isbell and DBT’s Patterson Hood) it will only confirm that Isbell has his own unique voice. Musicians joining Isbell on the album include DBT’s Shonna Tucker (bass) and Brad Morgan (drums) with cameos from Patterson Hood, his father David Hood, Spooner Oldham, John Neff and more.
Recorded over the past four years at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals (Aretha Franklin, Duane Allman, Otis Redding), Sirens Of The Ditch is a diverse collection of songs that incorporates elements of rock, blues and soul music into a heartfelt mix of songs that favor piano and pedal steel over buzzing guitars—although, don’t worry, there’s a fair share of overdriven amps as well. “A lot of old soul musicians came through here in the late ’60s and ’70s and helped define the Muscle Shoals sound,” the lifelong Alabamian explains, “so that influence was always in my environment, but on this record I really tried to capture that.”