Something More Than Free

It's easy to imagine Something More Than Free, by Jason Isbell, will end up on some folks' Best of 2015 lists. This eclectic, raw collection of Americana picks up where the former Drive-By Truckers member's celebrated Southeastern (2013) left off. “The Life You Chose” is loaded with power from lines like: “Are you living the life you chose?/Or are you living the life that chose you?” and represents the primary thematic tone for the record. “Speed Trap Town” is a bleeding-heart lament about leaving a small-town cage only to get caught in a big-city one, while “Children of Children” makes the powerful statement of a child stealing away a young parent's life merely by being born. Isbell gracefully wanders through the realms of Americana, rock, country, blues and folk, exploring that tension between wanting to break free of your chains and realizing that freedom comes with its own set of troubles, too. The album is a knockout.