Manchester Orchestra travels to fatherhood on “A Black Mile to the Surface”

Last winter, my wife and I took a trip to her mother’s house in Florida. On the way back, I decided to play through the discography of Manchester Orchestra, one of my favorite bands, but one I hadn’t listened to closely in quite some time. The collected length of all the albums would put us pretty close to home. We switched driving duties more than halfway through Georgia, and so began my time behind the wheel while my wife took a nap. About an hour and half, or two albums through, I noticed an odd sight, a sign: “Welcome to Florida.” Continue reading “Manchester Orchestra travels to fatherhood on “A Black Mile to the Surface””

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: “The Nashville Sound”

I have an intrinsic personal relationship to Jason Isbell’s music. I associate with his stories, his memories, his politics, and, in a way, to his past demons. Analyzing where he fits in the milieu as a country rock star is hard. I can’t see clearly the zeitgeist forest for my own trees, as it were. On the closing cut (“Something to Love”) off his new album with his band The 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound, Isbell sings as he often does best, straight forward and elegantly: Continue reading “Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: “The Nashville Sound””

On “God’s Problem Child,” Willie Nelson reckons with age but sounds as good as ever

My grandmother, who passed a little more than a year ago, loved Willie Nelson as deeply as she did consistently. I’m certain she bought The IRS Tapes the year I was born, she may have even bought two. Though he’s released two tribute albums since her death, his new album, God’s Problem Child is his first full LP of originals since her passing. I recall her enjoying Nelson’s ballads, so I would like to think she would have enjoyed his new album. Continue reading “On “God’s Problem Child,” Willie Nelson reckons with age but sounds as good as ever”