Jason Isbell surprised many when he walked away from cult favs Drive By Truckers 10 years ago. What were the chances of an Americana artist that bristled against modern country music making it beyond a record or two. Turns out, the chances were a hell of a lot better than most thought. It helps that Isbell also happens to be one of the best songwriters to come around in a generation.
Live from Ryman is Isbell at his best – playing outside of a studio. He is great on record, but on stage in front of an audience? He is simply untouchable.
The record was mostly recorded last year during the band’s six sold out nights in Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium (formerly the Grand Ole Opry), before a rapturous crowd of 2,500 each night. The 13 tracks on the album covers plenty of territory, taking songs from the band’s last three records, including some of his most political numbers off of 2017’s The Nashville Sound, like “White Man’s World” and the brilliant “Hope the High Road”.
Live albums are usually a pretty polarizing affair – folks love ‘em or hate ‘em. That being said, it seems hard that anyone with even a passing interest in Isbell could resist Live from the Ryman.