“It’s like I have a loaded gun in my mouth and my finger’s on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gunmetal.” – Robert Downey, Jr. describing his addiction.
I admit that I do like me an alcoholic, at least initially. If I walk into a party and there’s just one single alcoholic in the room, I’m drawn to him like I’ve been caught in a tractor beam. They are often like a colorful object floating in a sea of gray – emboldened and made fun by liquid courage – until the drinking tipping point is reached and things turn ugly, that is.
My life’s been populated with alcoholics – family, friends, boyfriends. I’ve known alcoholics and addicts so bedeviled by their demons that they never were able to stop running toward the loathsome comfort of their drug of choice. I’ve known beautiful, tortured souls who got sober for a while but couldn’t stay that way and only stopped the pain of going back out with the finality of a bullet to the head. And fortunately, I know people (some of my favorite people, in fact) who got sober, are working hard everyday to be a grown-up, and have managed to stay sober or make it back when they weren’t sure they’d had enough yet. I mean, everyone loves a redemption story, no?
So what could be better than a country album full of songs inspired by one guy’s journey to sobriety? Jason Isbell’s new solo album, Southeastern, is that album. He’s been sober for almost a year and a half now. (Here’s a recent NPR interview about his path to sobriety.) Isbell, formerly with Drive-by Truckers, went on to form Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. I’m not a huge country fan, but singer / songwriters who can turn a poignant and clever phrase against the backdrop of beautiful music always get my attention. Isbell does that.
Here are a few songs off of Southeastern to whet your appetite. You can buy the album here if you like it.
Songs That She Sang In The Shower https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSAJU1hJ9gw
Different Days https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hP17Rp5JZ0