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6/21/19 – Jason Isbell/Father John Misty – Merriweather Post Pavilion

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Thoughts on last night’s show,

Jade Bird – I came in late for her short set, but what I heard I really liked. I was kind of surprised at first to see she didn’t have a band since her album has a strong pop/rock sound (see Brandi Carlile or Maggie Rogers for reference points). With just her and an acoustic guitar though she pulled it off well. Her strumming style is very rhythmic which helped give the songs a lot of energy that could have otherwise been missing. And the sparser arrangements allowed her voice and songwriting talents remain the primary focus, which is a good move. She’s still young, with some things to learn about her craft, but there’s a lot of promise here and I’m really looking forward to watching her grow. I’m also pretty much resigned to the fact that I’m going to have to do Sunday at Floydfest this year, between her and Margo Price and Kacey Musgraves I’m just going have to find the energy for a fifth day on the mountain.

Father John Misty – Gotta be honest, I’m completely unfamiliar with FJM’s work outside of seeing/hearing the name in places. I dug what I heard though. He’s in the vein of that indie folk/soul thing that’s been happening for awhile now. Nine piece backing band with three piece horn section and two keyboardists, FJM mostly on the acoustic guitar. Kind of reminded me of early Elton John in places. Primary take away from his set was that I need to pick up his most recent album.

Jason Isbell – Jason was Jason. Of the four times I’ve seen him, this was either the first or second time I’ve seen him without Amanda Shires on fiddle (she’s on tour with John Prine right now). The dynamic of the band shifts a bit when she’s not around. It seems to be a bit more of a rock and roll show. While it’s a little different, and given a choice I’d prefer to have her there, it was still a great show.

Opening the show with Children of Children I was reminded again how tragic I find the chorus of that song,

I was riding on my mother’s hip
She was shorter than the corn
All the years I took from her
Just by being born.

A couple of songs later, in Outfit, this line hit me as well

So don’t let ’em take who you are boy, and don’t try to be who you ain’t
And don’t let me catch you in Kendale with a bucket of wealthy man’s paint

Is there a better summation of a parent’s hopes for their children? (Note: if you don’t know the song, hit the above link, it makes more sense in context)

I think that’s what I love most about Jason’s work, the small little touches that seem so small on the surface, but evoke so much of the human condition when you unpack them.

On a side note, I just now noticed that Children of Children is a song about Jason’s mom having him at a very young age. While Outfit is a song about advice that he received from his father when he joined the Drive By Truckers. There’s some kind of fun symmetry there.

In addition to poignant moments like the above, we also heard Jason’s version of Maybe It’s Time, the song he wrote for Bradley Cooper to play in A Star Is Born. And Jason’s new song Overseas. It always takes me a couple of listens to properly ingest new Isbell songs, so I’ll hold off on commenting about the song for now.

So lessons learned from this evening of music?

  1. Jade Bird is someone to keep an eye on. She’s doing good stuff now, I’ve got a feeling there’s better to come.
  2. I’ve slept to long on Father John Misty.
  3. Jason Isbell is still probably my favorite song writer working today.
  4. I’m to damn old for standing room only orchestra pit tickets.
  5. The crowds at Merriweather are really good at clapping and singing along.

Written by Matt

June 22nd, 2019 at 1:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized