Jason Isbell – Elephant

Year :
Drive-By Truckers / Wilco / Alabama Shakes

Four days ago, a friend sent me a link to an NPR interview with singer-songwriter Jason Isbell about his recently released album, Southeastern. As I skimmed the article, Isbell’s candor predisposed me to falling in love with his music. I clicked the link to listen to “Elephant” while I read, but about twenty seconds in I had to stop and just listen.

It’s true that I’m a sucker for a melancholy, twangy acoustic song.

But Southeastern feels like something else entirely.

“Elephant” will knock you on your ass if you aren’t ready for it. That’s what it did to me. Ironically, the current top comment on the YouTube video quite accurately described how I felt about Isbell’s voice and lyrics.

“This dude is the truth.”

Fear can overcome us all in the wake of disease. The not knowing, the pain, the struggle for the one who is ill, and those who have to watch it all unfold. There never seems to be words to describe that passage of time between sickness and health, sickness and death. It’s a polarizing set of minutes, months, years hoping for something to change. Some pray, some resolve to do all the things they missed in their waking lives before they disappear, and some, well some, just accept the truth for what it is and go on until they can’t anymore.

“Elephant” is a song for them. For the ones who just continue.

Southeastern is a force from beginning to end. It’s worth setting aside the hour or so to listen all the way through, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll find it hard to get past this song without clicking replay once or twice.

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Terri Rodriguez (@northeastshorty) is a self-proclaimed internettie, writer, artist, music and politics junkie, and craft beer lover interested in exploring the food/beer industry. If you see her around Providence she's likely clinking glasses, making jokes, singing songs, and/or causing trouble... the good kind only. Promise... Find her at TerriRodriguez.com.

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