Sometimes when you part, it truly is sweet sorrow. Such is the case with the Drive-By Truckers and guitarist Jason Isbell.
Jason joined the band in 2002, after original guitarist Rob Malone left the band following DBT’s groundbreaking Southern Rock Opera double album. Isbell had already established himself as a pretty solid singer and songwriter in Alabama, and the move only helped solidify the Truckers as an up-and-coming band.
Highly acclaimed Decoration Day, The Dirty South and A Blessing and a Curse soon followed, and Isbell’s songs measured up to the works of the band’s other songwriters, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley. (In fact, many times I felt drawn more to Isbell’s introspective work, but that’s like picking the best among three hall-of-famers — you can’t go wrong any way.)
This past week, Isbell and the Truckers parted ways. As Stereogum put it, this is one amicable band split, because Isbell’s wife, Shonna Tucker, is staying with the Truckers as the band’s bassist.
I’m certain Isbell will continue to crank out excellent work on his own — often, he’d tour without the band, and his shows always were well-received. And I’m sure the Truckers will do just fine too — they’ve made John Neff, a long-time lap-steel/guitar touring band member, into a permanent part of the band.
I wish Jason and the Truckers the best of luck. And hopefully, both will tour down in my neck of the woods. Or as I like to call it — the MOST OUT OF THE WAY PLACE IN THE U.S. THAT ISN’T HAWAII.