Jason Isbell put on a great show at the Stokin' the Fire Barbecue Festival in Birmingham this weekend. The festival was held at Sloss Furnace, which can be a challenge for a sound tech. For those unfamiliar with the venue it is a big metal roofed and walled structure with a stage in front of an old blast furnace. It has nice atmosphere and is a big part of the history of the Birmingham area. However, all that metal does tend to create a little reverb; but in this case it wasn't too bad. Something about Southern Rock and Barbecue that just goes together. Isbell mostly played songs from his solo effort Sirens of the Ditch. However he also mixed in a few Drive By Trucker classics he penned, including a great version of "Outfit" one of my favorite Truckers mid-tempo songs.
Isbell's band the 400 Unit do a nice job channelling the Southern Rock ethos. No doubt about it, when they rock it is a full on assault. However, they also do well on the slower tunes which show Isbell's songwriter side. For example, "Dress Blues," which is one of the most moving songs I've heard in years, was great live like it is on the album. My favorite song of the evening was "Try" which was one of those aforementioned full on assaults. For the closer they played the crowd pleaser "Jailbreak," a cover of the Thin Lizzy tune that the Truckers have made part of their live performances.
Check out the link below to My Music Birmingham for almost 12 min of high quality video shot
that evening starting out with the "Try":