“You thought God was an architect
Now you know
He’s something like a pipe bomb ready to blow,
and everything you built that’s all for show
goes up in flames
in 24 frames.”

~24 Frames
Jason Isbell, 
Something More Than Free

I knew when I woke up this morning Jason Isbell would be releasing new music this July. I did not think I would get the gift of a new song that same afternoon.

He tweeted out a single, and I saw it, so I played it, and I cried at my desk when the chorus kicked in because I am so struck by his ability to capture difficult feelings so succintly.

This song is kind of perfect. It’s structured so simply, lyrically and melodically, and yet it sinks into the darkest places of hearts and minds, somehow without caving to them. Life is sort of like that, sad but ever-moving, incredibly deep and layered in meaning, but simple when taken as a whole. Isbell writes about life, all his imagined ballads, all his confessionals, all his stories woven from feelings of love and loss and longing, it’s all just life, and I do believe he is among the best of modern musicians because of this.

Earlier this year, I saw him in concert for the first time. Hopefully not the last, because it was mesmerizing. He played almost all of “Southeastern,” it felt like, plus the best of the DBT tracks (“Decoration Day,” “Goddamn Lonely Love,” “Danko/Manuel,’ “Outift”) and soloed for bars upon bars upon bars with a natural fluidity and masterful precision. He is never too much, but he is never too sparse. I could listen to him sing for hours. I kept meaning to write about that concert, this magical few hours where the world sort of stopped spinning, but I figured I’d just sell it short. I do know I would love to see him again, as soon as possible, and that mid-July can’t come soon enough.

I tried to be still tonight. I tried to be still after a 12-hour day, and never enough sleep,and preoccupied worries of the friends I didn’t call and the bills I’ve yet to pay and the frustrations of my own limitations and faulty connections. I tried to be still and I couldn’t, so I just listened to this until I felt clear enough to at least focus my kinetic energy into something worthwhile.

(EDIT: This is my 600th published post on this here blog. I like that number).