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Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit - Here We Rest

Now that we have made the acquaintance of the town of Muscle Shoals, where we traveled for the Paul Thorn concert filming we did in late January, it is interesting how often things keep pointing back in that direction. The latest is Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, recording at the legendary FAME Studios there, and at the NuttHouse in Sheffield, AL. Their new album Here We Rest, which comes out today, is named after the state of Alabama’s original motto. Jason, a native of Greenhill, AL returned to the state, following almost two years on the road.

Back in 2001, Jason joined the Drive-By Truckers and toured with them for the release of Southern Rock Opera. He went solo in 2007, and subsequently released a solo CD, and then the first with the 400 Unit. By the way, The "400 Unit" was the former colloquial name of the psychiatric ward of Florence, Alabama's Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital. They keep on moving, as they are playing a ton of places. Tomorrow you will find them in Greenville, South Carolina, with Hayes Carll. No rest after all, I guess!

- Jessie Scott

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit


The Civil Wars "Tip of My Tongue"

I cruise the internets for videos all the time. And sometimes you see one that makes your heart stop. Such was the case with the song "Barton Hollow" from The Civil Wars' album of the same name, so we posted it in January. At the time, we were knee deep in booking the Music Fog Marathon at Threadgill's WHQ for March, so I invited them to join us. Californian Joy Williams and her Alabaman partner, John Paul White said yes, and graced us with their presence. It is funny, when the world descends on SXSW® in Austin, you see all kinds of types, and you wonder what their story is. I saw each of them separately in the crowd at Threadgill's before they came to perform on our stage. With both of them, I had a blink moment, a 'Who is that?' which was followed by the 'Aha!' when they walked up for their set in front of the Music Fog cameras.

The Civil Wars have presence and style and chops. They have a distinctive chemistry that spontaneously combusts when they make music. It is intimate and elegant. It expands your understanding of what it is possible to do as 'just a duet.' You must see them as they are touring, though tonight's show, and tomorrow's, at Schuba's in Chicago is sold out, as has been the case for many nights on this tour. Catch them here for now!

- Jessie Scott

Tip of My Tongue - Poison & Wine - EP