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The Nashville Sound starts softly with “Last of My Kind,” in which Jason Isbell frets about all the change that is going on around him. The song creeps in, as if Isbell doesn’t want to make too big a deal out of his nervousness regarding the world he finds himself in. The feeling of anxiety in this song hangs over much of this album.

Isbell’s music sits solidly in the Americana genre where folk music meets country and rock. His writing uses specific situations to get at larger issues, like a Dylan or a Springsteen might do. By being specific, he allows us to look at ourselves and the world.

There are many good moments in this excellent album. In the gentle “If We Were Vampires,” Isbell ponders the notion that either he or his wife will die first, leaving the other alone. That song is followed by the nearly seven-minute “Anxiety,” which opens with a feedback-drenched intro that segues into Isbell singing, “Anxiety, why do you always get the best of me?”

But even with all this angst, the album ends in hope, the delightful “Something to Love,” a song of blessing addressed to his daughter.

About the Author

Robert J. Keeley is professor of education at Calvin College and director of distance learning at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is a member of 14th Street CRC in Holland, Mich.