Southeastern - Jason Isbell
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 45 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 45
  2. Negative: 4 out of 45

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  1. Jun 11, 2013
    His most well rounded album to date. Masterful songwriting. Songs like "Cover Me Up" and "Live Oak" and "Elephant" will stick with you for days. Great album for hitting the road.
  2. BKM
    Jun 12, 2013
    Isbell's latest effort is his most personal work to date and features his most consistently excellent songwriting. His smoky, broken voice is perfect for these tales of heartache, loss and loneliness; especially Elephant which may be one of the most shattering narratives he's ever composed.
  3. Jun 13, 2013
    I'll begin by saying I'm not familiar with the 'Truckers' or Jason's earlier solo, however, this on primary listens is simply fantastic. Simple, endearing, concise and authentic songwriting from someone who seems truly dedicated to preserving the lineage of great folk artists. Couple that with a truly powerful voice and you've certainly got a contestant for one of the strongest albums of the year thus far. This instantly made my top 5 alongside Laura Marling, James Blake and Daft Punk's efforts. Definitely don't overlook this. I expect much more to come from this talent. Expand
  4. Aug 23, 2013
    Excellent front to back. There's not a weak song on this record. Finally Jason gives us a glimpse inside rather than just telling stories. This is well into my top 10 list for this year.
  5. Jul 10, 2013
    Great song writing, great guitar playing, terrific voice. Really worth a listen. If his name isn't familiar, you might be familiar with his work with the Drive-By Truckers.
  6. Aug 16, 2013
    Hard to imagine hearing a more powerful song than Elephant this year or any other for that matter. A quite stunning performance of it can be found here
  7. Jun 28, 2013
    I started paying more attention to Jason Isbell after seeing him supporting Ryan Adams in New Zealand. Honestly, this is a fantastic album for its entire 47 minutes and 19 seconds. The songs are beautifully crafted and filled with brilliant and honest lyrics. Songs like Cover me up", "Elephant", "New South Wales" and "relatively easy" are standouts for me, but this is an album that needs to played right through the way albums are intended (or at least were). The characters and observations in the songs are set to great musical arrangements and Jason's voice has never sounded better. Excellent Album. Expand
  8. Jul 14, 2013
    On his new album “Southeastern” singer/songwriter Jason Isbell looks “through the fires and the farmers diggin’ dusty fields alone and offers a wonderfully constructed, highly personal collection of songs that chronicle his battle with alcohol addiction and the new life he is striving to adjust to. Isbell is a songwriter cut out of a Ryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen cloth with strong leanings towards his Alabama roots. While with the Drive By Truckers he admittedly drank himself into oblivion during every live performance. After parting ways with the band in 2007, and ending his marriage with bassist Shonna Tucker, he began a solo career and released 3 albums. A friendship with fellow musician Ryan Adams, his marriage to singer/violinist Amanda Shires and a commitment to rehab all laid the groundwork for the feelings and ideas expressed on Southeastern. Perhaps his battle over addiction unearthed a mighty store of creative energy because this is the finest album Jason Isbell has ever made. The songs are confessional “There’s a man who walks beside me. It is who I used to be and I wonder if she sees him and confuses him with me.” without ever becoming maudlin. There is also an unflattering authenticity about them that give them greater allure. “Elephant” is a poignant recounting of a relationship with a woman dying from cancer which concludes with Isbell surmising There’s one thing that’s real clear to me, no one dies with dignity. 
We just try to ignore the elephant somehow.” That being said one elephant of an album we definitely should not ignore is “Southeastern” by Jason Isbell. Expand
  9. Jul 21, 2013
    Thank goodness for Jason Isbell. While Nashville has become safe, over produced and overly sentimental, Isbell continues to writes from the gut and can set a story that will stay with you long after you listen to each song. Live Oak, Cover Me Up, Yvette, Songs in the Shower, Stockholm. he's at the top of his game. Isbell deserves Album of the Year.
  10. Oct 30, 2013
    I "discovered" Isbell with this album and I am hooked. Great lyrics, haunting melodies and Isbell's distinctive style make each song uniquely memorable. I can't play this album enough. Every word has value and you will want to contemplate each story again and again. Blues/folk/country fans...this is the intersection of all. Enjoy!
  11. Jun 20, 2013
    This is one of my favorite 2013 releases! Check out my review:
  12. Oct 27, 2013
    Not since Bruce Soingsteen's "Tunnel of Love" has an entire album captured so perfectly a moment of change in a songwriter's life--and "Southeastern" does it better. The lyrics are deeply emotional and personal, his voice conveys the significance, and his guitar punctuates it all. It is the best album of the year, and will be the milestone by which his career is measured.

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. There’s a real dynamic arc here, not just for the album as a whole, but also within each and every individual song, and whether or not you’ve gravitated toward county music in the past, that unrivaled depth of passion makes this record an absolute essential.
  2. Oct 31, 2013
    It's Isbell's best album yet, and suggests that he'll do better still. [Dec 2013, p.64]
  3. Oct 16, 2013
    What makes the album itself addictive is Isbell's fusing of gothic Memphis blues and Nashville tenderness. [Nov 2013, p.90]