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Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit 

When: Sat., April 16, 8 p.m. 2011
Price: $15
Sure, Brad Paisley’s new single “Old Alabama” name-drops country-pop veterans who represented for their native state by camping out on the charts for decades. But Jason Isbell — who happens to be from the same state — did one better artistically (if not commercially). He captured the gritty soul of working-class Alabama in story-song after story-song on his new album, Here We Rest, and even borrowed the album title from the rather resigned motto the state adopted during the Civil War era. A rough-edged singer, songwriter and guitarist who put in some time with the Drive-By Truckers but these days leads his own red-blooded Southern rock outfit, the 400 Unit, and joins acts like Justin Townes Earle and Middle Brother in the studio, Isbell has a real gift for making the desperation and dysfunction in rural relationships tangible. And with him, it’s never just about the lyrics: There are hooks, sinewy grooves and — on this album — a particularly countrified feel to go with it.
— Jewly Hight

4.7 out of 5

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