red lights

Concert Livewire
basement tapes concert reviews cd reviews interviewsticket swap music news

Isbell's rooted in rich story telling tradition

Jason Isbell with Robert Ellis
Barrymore Theatre
Madison, WI
February 7, 2014
Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
Jason Isbell
Jason Isbell Publicity photo
Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis

Review and photos of Robert Ellis by Jennifer Bronenkant

Jason Isbell's voice perfectly filled the air in the Barrymore Theater. It is a voice so rich and full you feel it as much as hear it. With the breakout success of his latest album Southeastern, Isbell is easily selling out most dates on this tour including this night. This success as a solo artist has taken some time to build since Isbell left the Drive-By Truckers in 2007. A couple of contributing factors to finally achieving this hard won acclaim are his relatively recent sobriety (he celebrated two years sober the night before at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee) and a marriage last year to singer/fiddle player Amanda Shires who has joined him for this tour.

Music and story telling is deeply rooted in Southern traditions for this Muscle Shoals area native. Much of this evening was dedicated to his new album starting with "Flying Over Water" but mixed in were older favorites from his solo career, "Alabama Pines," and his days as a Drive-by Trucker "Decoration Day." The storytelling even takes a trip to the north in "Live Oak" as a tale of a murderer that starts in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The raw honesty of "Elephant," a song about a friend dying of cancer, was a breathtakingly beautiful moment of the show.

With the release of his latest album The Lights From The Chemical Plant, opening act Robert Ellis has shifted his style and music from traditional country/folk to pop with expanded influences. These changes, which also included a move from his native Houston to Nashville to work with a record producer for the first time, are paying off with positive critical acclaim from national press.

His performance this evening was primarily made up of his new music. He added an older song "Photographs" even though the band didn't know the song after a request from a woman who said that this song was her wedding song. After pointing out that this song is a unusual choice of a wedding song as it is about adultery, Ellis and the band made it work. His voice, clear and warm toned, works well with his currently evolving music style. His cover of Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years" showed off his vocal range beautifully and was an emotional highlight of his performance. Another cover, Richard Thompson's up beat "Tear Stained Letter" added some danceable fun to the set.
Jason Isbell Setlist:
Flying Over Water
Go It Alone
Tour Of Duty
Decoration Day
Goddamn Lonely Love
Heart On A String
Different Days
Live Oak
Alabama Pines
Cover Me Up
Relatively Easy
Songs That She Sang In The Shower
Never Gonna Change
Super 8
Robert Ellis Setlist:
Good Intentions
Steady As A Rising Sun
Only Lies
Still Crazy
Tear Stained Letter
Sing Along
Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis

What Do You Think?



City & State:

e mail:

Here's Your Chance to.... Respond!

Your feedback will be featured on
Rant or Rave within 24 hours.

Return to Reviews
Return to Menu