Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit
Jason Isbell is an alt-country singer /songwriter /guitarist from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Best known for his years with the Drive-By Truckers where he played with his then wife, bassist Shonna Tucker. Isbell – who joined the Truckers in 2001 – left the band in early 2007 around the same time as his divorce from Tucker was finalized.
In addition to being a gifted songwriter, Isbell is regarded as an exceptional guitar player. His style is mostly in the alt-country genre, but is also infused with rock and blues elements. One of his most well-known songs is “Dress Blues,” a tribute to a fallen soldier from the Iraq war.
Jason Isbell’s debut solo album Sirens From The Ditch was released on July 10th, 2007, on New West Records. With his band The 400 Unit, he toured in support of this release in the US and Canada during the summer and fall of 2007. Both Isbell and the band released a follow-up album, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit on February 17, 2009.
Bonnie Raitt, (born November 8, 1949) is an American blues/R&B singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was born in Burbank, California, the daughter of Broadway musical star John Raitt.
Raitt began playing guitar at an early age, something not a lot of her high school girlfriends did. Later she would become famous for her bottleneck-style guitar playing. “I had played a little at school and at camp,” she later recalled in a July 2002 interview. “My parents would drag me out to perform for my family, like all parents do, but it was a hobby—nothing more. …I think people must wonder how a white girl like me became a blues guitarist. The truth is, I never intended to do this for a living. I grew up…in a Quaker family, and for me being Quaker was a political calling rather than a religious one.”
In 1967 Raitt continued her pursuit in that path when she entered Harvard’s Radcliffe College as a freshman, majoring in African Studies. “My plan was to travel to Tanzania, where President Julius Nyerere was creating a government based on democracy and socialism,” Raitt recalled. “I wanted to help undo the damage that Western colonialism had done to native cultures around the world. Cambridge was a hotbed of this kind of thinking, and I was thrilled.”
One day, Raitt was notified by a friend that blues promoter Dick Waterman was giving an interview at WHRB, Harvard’s college radio station. An important figure in the blues revival of the 1960s, Waterman was also a resident of Cambridge. Raitt went to see Waterman, and the two soon became friends, “much to the chagrin of my parents, who didn’t expect their freshman daughter to be running around with 65-year-old bluesmen,” recalled Raitt.
The object of cultish adoration for years, singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams was universally hailed as a major talent by both critics and fellow musicians, but it took quite some time for her to parlay that respect into a measure of attention from the general public. Part of the reason was her legendary perfectionism: Williams released records infrequently, often taking years to hone both the material and the recordings thereof. Yet her meticulous attention to detail and staunch adherence to her own vision were exactly what helped build her reputation. When Williams was at her best (and she often was), even her simplest songs were rich in literary detail, from her poetic imagery to her flawed, conflicted characters. Her singing voice, whose limitations she readily acknowledged, nonetheless developed into an evocative instrument that seemed entirely appropriate to her material.
In early 2014, Williams reissued her 1988 self-titled album with bonus material via funding from a Pledge Music campaign. If the crowdfunding campaign suggested Williams was moving away from the standard music business paradigm, she confirmed it by forming her own record label, Highway 20 Records, who released Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, an ambitious two-disc set that appeared in September 2014.
Grit, elemental rhythm, tight-as-a-drumhead playing, and a profound depth of feeling: these are the promises of a great soul band. And St. Paul & The Broken Bones deliver on those promises. Half The City is the compelling full-length Single Lock/Thirty Tigers debut of the Birmingham, Alabama-based sextet, who have already created a maelstrom of interest with their roof-raising live shows and self-released four-song 2012 EP. Produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes, and recorded and mixed in the storied R&B mecca of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the album harkens back to the region’s classic soul roots while extending the form with electrifying potency.