This has been one of the best live music weeks of my life. Sunday: Old Crow Medicine Show with Sturgill Simpson. Wednesday: Sufjan Stevens with Moses Sumney. Tonight: Jason Isbell with Horsehead. I feel a little like a dog whose owner opened up a brand new bag of food and dumped the whole thing on the floor. If one good thing about music is when it hits, you feel no pain, I’d say a second good thing is that when you gorge yourself on music, you don’t risk yakking it all back up. (Unless you count blogging about it, in which case I have a serious case of reflux.)
Tonight’s Isbell show couldn’t have come at a better time — he has an album coming out in July, so we may get to hear some of the new material. One song’s already made its way online, called “24 Frames.” I’d give it a few listens below before heading down to Brown’s Island tonight. It’s extraordinary in the same understated way that many Isbell songs are — he makes good writing seem effortless. (A recent NPR post nailed this point, I thought.) You know that famous quote about how “I’d have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have time”? The Internet won’t tell me who actually said it, because it seems like more than one famous person expressed that thought in one way or another, but that just goes to show how true it is: Brevity + substance = hard work. Songs like “Decoration Day” and “Cover Me Up” feel natural, despite the fact that lots of imagery, meaning and conflict are crammed in there, and “24 Frames” continues that tradition admirably.
Fingers crossed we get to hear it tonight. And that I don’t fall into a deep depression after getting spoiled rotten by favorite musicians this week. Click here to get your Friday Cheers tickets — see y’all there!