Earlier this year Jason Isbell announced his new album, The Nashville Sound, will be out in June. A couple days after that news, he shared the early single, “Hope The High Road,” above, and today he’s followed that news up with a new single, “Cumberland Gap,” premiered with a bit of hyperbole over at Noisey, particularly because the two songs he’s shared off the record are some of the more rock-leaning songs Isbell has ever done. As for Isbell’s new music, I’d even go so far as to say that these songs have an undercurrent of Springsteen in them, and tread further into heartland rock than country.
Isbell has been immersed in both sides of things since his early days as a solo artist, and during his stint with the Drive-By Truckers, but it was getting sober and his 2013 breakout album after that, Southeastern that really put him on the mainstream map. I actually thought the follow up to that record in 2015, Something More Than Free, was an even better record, and when it came out we had a long conversation about learning to live with the past and your own mistakes.
Clearly, The Nashville Sound is taking that idea and running with it, there doesn’t seem to be a hint of heartache or sorrow, but an undercurrent of forward motion and longing for something bigger. His band, the 400 unit, are back to having a direct credit on the record as well, which might be part of the heavier sound. Listening the songs, I’m beginning to think the sound is part of a play on the album title, as the early singles off this record don’t encapsulate any of the current country sounds, but push outward. Listen to both new singles above and look for his new album in June.