An ear...ly meet as I have insisted to the group that we must see the support band, St Paul and the Broken Bones. Duly persuaded we trot across the road to be met by a fat Alan Carr on stage. That’s where the similarity ends. One word to describe this guy’s voice. WOW! It’s an amalgam of all of the classic soul/stax singers of the sixties rolled into a big white guy. What follows is a 30 minute skip through their debut album. It’s a truly stunning set completely out of kilter to the country rock main act but he soon gets the crowd on board, soul clapping and screaming for encores. It’s all over too soon with five new converts to the cause who agree it is arguably the best support act they have ever seen and promises made to get tickets for when they return to headline the same venue in September. (Ed’s note. Tickets already bought for me and my good lady).
Catching our breath, concerns were raised about how Jason Isbell would follow that. Four songs in that included covering two of my favourite Drive by Truckers songs, Never Gonna Change and Goddamn Lonely Love I have no idea what we were worrying about. It’s a full electric rock n rock blast and I loved it.
Tempo changes as the acoustic is brought out and he runs through a fair chunk of Southeastern with the band complimenting it subtly without being overpowering interspersed with some great slide from the young lead guitarist. There’s time for a cameo from Kim Richey on Stockholm but alas no sign of Amanda Shires and then it’s back out with the electric guitar for Outfit and ending with Super 8.
Tonight just topped when we saw Isbell last year solo acoustic as he manages the blend between rock and country that worked perfectly.
As usual the sound is good at the Ballroom and Isbell's voice is crystal clear whether he’s rocking out or calming it down. His star is definitely rising and he’s leaving his old band behind.
All in all a thrilling three hours of albeit very different musical styles from Alabama’s finest sons.
Keep on rockin’ y’all
PS couldn't resist the video with Amanda