Jason Isbell may still be young, but he’s packed an enormous amount of musical experience into his 28 years. Growing up in a family of musicians, he absorbed everything he heard and began channeling it into guitar at age six and piano at 12. For the past six years, Isbell was one of three frontmen for the critically acclaimed Drive-By Truckers (DBT)—and although fans may have been shocked by his leaving the band in April, once you hear his solo debut Sirens Of The Ditch (which was co-produced by Isbell and DBT’s Patterson Hood) it will only confirm that Isbell has his own unique voice. Musicians joining Isbell on the album include DBT’s Shonna Tucker (bass) and Brad Morgan (drums) with cameos from Patterson Hood, his father David Hood, Spooner Oldham, John Neff and more.
The Decemberists are one of the most popular and successful US bands to tour under an imposed label of folk. The Decemberists perform concert dates with the most cherished musical elements from folk music, and have employed them with skill alongside modern musical traits to create a sound that is the deft blending of new and old. Their musical style can be best described as indie folk rock, as their unique combination of traditionally folk instruments is combined with modern instruments like the melodica. The band's latest album, The King is Dead, has quickly become a hit record, cementing The Decemberists status as folk rock stars, as well as providing fans with a new tour in 2011; one so popular, that it's been extended into late spring and summer.
The formations of The Decembrists began when Colin Meloy moved to Portland, Oregon and met Chris Funk and Nate Query. The trio, along with Nate's friend Jenny Conlee, decided to form a band based on a shared love of music. The group went through two Portland-area drummers before settling on John Moen, who joined before the recording of The Crane Wife. The Decemberists took their name from the Decembrist Revolt in Russia that was fueled by Communist ideals and is considered a major stepping stone to Socialism.
The band began playing various concert dates, including performances at a hotel that helped pay for studio time to record their 2001 EP, 5 Songs. The record was a local success and The Decemberists released their first full-length album, Castaways and Cutouts, in May 2003. Shortly after, the success of the album allowed The Decemberists to release Her Majesty the Decemberists in September 2003. The band's growing popularity allowed them to tour at this point, but they played mostly smaller concert dates and festivals. In 2005, The Decembrists released Picaresque, which was their first record to be produced by Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla.
Later in the year, The Decemberists would sign with Capitol Records. Their major label debut, The Crane Wife, was a huge success, with the track "The Crane Wife 3" garnering plays on television shows and radio stations. The album was The Decembrists most heavily influenced album, with many of the songs coming from real life events and classic literary tales. The Crane Wife granted the group the opportunity to play larger concert dates on tour, as well as nab headlining spots. In 2008, The Decemberists embarked on yet another hugely creative concept, the finished product being 2009's The Hazards of Love. The album features popular musicians like Becky Stark, Shara Worden, and Jim James voicing the roles of the characters, although Meloy found a live staging too large of an undertaking on tour.
The Decemberists latest album, The King is Dead, was released in February 2011. The album marks a change in style for the band, as many of the tracks feature a more rustic, folksy sound. Even with the stylistic changes, The King is Dead has become a huge success, becoming The Decemberists first #1 album on US charts. 2011 tour dates in promotion of the album have become known as the Popes of Pendarvia World Tour and, while the tour began shortly after the album's release in January, concert dates are being extended into May and June. After finishing up the European leg of their tour in March, The Decemberists are returning to the US with concert dates scheduled mostly for the eastern part of the country. Fans who missed the first round of concert dates should check Eventful for tickets, as The Decemberists will be done with their 2011 tour in June.
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit:
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