...but a great album nonetheless. I'm speaking of Jason Isbell's Sirens of the Ditch, due out July 10 on New West Records. For those not familiar, Isbell until recently was one of three principal singer/songwriters of the great alt-country/southern rock band Drive-By Truckers, and in my opinion was responsible for the true highlights of the three most recent DBT albums. He's an extraordinarily gifted songwriter, both observant in detail and thoughtful in concept. You don't have to be a fan of DBT's genre to appreciate songs like "Outfit", "Danko/Manuel", "Decoration Day" or "Goddamn Lonely Love", and now he gets a full album to himself, of which I've been fortunate enough to have an advance copy.
At this point, I'll direct you to his myspace page, where you can hear three songs off Sirens, but take special note of "Dress Blues", a wonderful and heartbreaking song about a high school buddy of his who went off to Iraq and never came back. "Grown" is another winner, as its basic melodic hook keeps me coming back. Again, it's not power pop (although the disc is less, say Skynyrd-sounding, than DBT), but it's good stuff and I figure I'd drop this comment in before it shows up rather high on my upcoming top 50 of 07 list and some of you might wonder "what the heck is that?".