Any Jason Isbell fan counts on the fact that once the Alabama songwriter takes the stage, or has his CD spinning in the player, the truth will be told. No artist has ever laid bare his depths of addiction or jubilation in reclaiming the simple life that Jason Isbell expressed in his lauded albums, “Southeastern” and the Grammy-winning “Something More Than Free.” Laying aside his personal journey, Jason Isbell has taken a remarkable artistic trek in only a few short years. He has gone from the drugged-out, kicked out member of Drive-By Truckers to becoming a contented family man and loving father with wife Amanda Shires, and filling stadiums and venues under his own name.

The Nashville Sound,” the latest album from Jason Isbell, tells another kind of truth with the same grit. The composer takes on the hardscrabble life of the coal miners, and the disparity that his young daughter will still face in society and salary as a young woman in “White Man’s World.” Considering the Commander-in-Chief's instructions last evening, urging officers to not be “too nice” to suspects, including disregarding standard apprehension protocols, anyone of diversity has a reason for added concern.

Still, Jason Isbell does have reason to smile. He's mastered a method to protect the family chickens, and still finds music he likes (although not most).

He yearns for a few “good Christian people.”

Dreams come true and country music duds

Jason Isbell senses life to the full these days and recently had the dream of his lifetime sharing the same bill with Bob Dylan at the Outlaw Music Festival. Isbell has the lyric’s of Dylan's classic, “Boots of Spanish Leather” etched permanently into his arm.

As for lyrics of most Country Music on the radio today, little of it has potential as being tattoo-worthy, in Jason Isbell’s estimation. The songwriter bluntly declares that “most of that stuff is just real bad music to me.” Isbell was first hired at 19 as a songwriter at the esteemed Muscle Shoals studios and does name Miranda Lambert and Chris Stapleton among songwriters deserving of credit.

He realizes that all creative artists are together in not reaching album sales comparable to past decades. As an example, he points to Garth Brooks’ Chris Gaines collection, which was called “a disaster” at selling 2 million. Now, artists would do flips for those numbers.

Faith in post-Christian times and feathered friends

As a parent and an artist, Jason Isbell is troubled by the divides in the nation, but playfully describes a more pressing situation on his farm. Foxes have feasted on what the family hoped could be free-range chickens, so a chicken run is under construction. The musician says that the issues keeping conservatives and liberals apart are nothing compared to “putting some free range chickens and foxes together in Tennessee.”

The musician is more disturbed by the cratering of genuine Christian Faith in his southern conservative heartland.

He describes the nation’s current spiritual status as “a post-Christian America.” He relates an understanding for how right wing Christian Americans could vote for a candidate like Mitt Romney, “a standup guy,” but not selling out their faith for the sake of having the current president elected. “Trump is obviously not a good Christian person,” Jason says flatly. He further elaborates that the fact that so many votes were cast in favor of the candidate illustrates that “there aren't that many good Christian people left in rural America.”

Coming to terms with transitions in music and faith in larger perspectives is daunting, but Jason Isbell knows his own household is in harmony and on solid ground.

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