JASON ISBELL + THE 400 UNIT Maria Taylor
“Jason Isbell surprised a lot of people when he announced that he was leaving Drive-By Truckers, but fans of his contributions to the Truckers’ oeuvre knew that his decision was far from career suicide. Instead, his 2007 debut, “Sirens Of The Ditch”, cemented Isbell’s stature as a gritty, truth-slinging troubadour who yearns to expand Southern-rock sounds while hewing close to his Alabama roots. And not much has changed in two years: Isbell’s self-titled 2009 sophomore effort sees him with backing band The 400 Unit, comprising mostly Alabama-based musicians, and staying both musically and geographically staid in the Heart of Dixie.” (A.V. Club)
Before you listen to her new album, Maria Taylor suggests you prepare yourself. Listen to it, she says “in a dark room, with a candle or two with headphones, maybe in the bath, but definitely horizontal.”
Though much of the deliciously diverse LadyLuck is inspired by the end of a relationship, it’s not dripping with sadness and grief, nor is it in-your-face empowering. Rather, Taylor strikes a stunning balance between melancholy (aching strings, hushed vocals) and uplifting (rolling rhythms, shimmering keys), highlighted by sharp lyrics that draw optimism out of sadness. This is not a woman down on her luck.