JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT – Tickets – Ovens Auditorium – Charlotte, NC – September 30th, 2017

JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT

NS2 & MaxxMusic Present:

JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT

Frank Turner

Sat 9/30

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Ovens Auditorium

TICKETS BEGIN AT $34.50

This event is all ages

JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT
JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit's new album, The Nashville Sound, is a beautiful piece of American music-making, but watch yourself: it will light a fire under your ass. "You're still breathing, it's not too late," Jason sings.

This album is a call, and the songs on it send sparks flying into a culture that's already running so hot the needle on the temperature gauge is bouncing erratically in the red. And while it's understandable that, in this moment, some people want their radio to help them drift away, this finely calibrated set of ten songs is aimed right between the clear eyes of people who prefer to stay present and awake. It's a call to those who won't cower no matter how erratically the world turns, and who aren't afraid of what looks back when they look in the mirror. Bruce Springsteen did that. Neil Young did that. Jason Isbell does that.

There are songs on this album that cut to the chase. "Last year was a son of a bitch for nearly everyone we know," Isbell sings on the album's first single, "Hope the High Road." "But I ain't fighting with you down in the ditch. I'll meet you up here on the road." As singular as that lyric is, there's nothing coy or obtuse about it. Meanwhile, other songs here take a subtler tack.

Check out track three, "Tupelo." It plays like a warm ode to Northeast Mississippi-on the first few listens, it sure sounds like a loving tribute-but on the fourth you realize that the town the protagonist is extolling is actually a blazing hellhole. Perfect-as a hideout, anyway. "You get about a week of spring and the summer is blistering," Isbell sings. "There ain't no one from here who will follow me there." It's the kind of twist that compels the fifth listen-and the fiftieth.

As with Isbell's 2013 breakthrough, Southeastern, and his double-Grammy-winning follow up, 2015's Something More Than Free, The Nashville Sound was produced by Dave Cobb. Isbell says that he and Cobb created a simple litmus test for the decisions they made in the two weeks they spent at RCA Studios (which was known as "The home of the Nashville Sound" back in the '60's and '70s): they only made sonic moves that their heroes from back in the day could've made, but simply never did. It's a shrewd approach-an honest way to keep the wiz-bang of modern recording technology at arms length, while also leaving the old bag of retro rock 'n' roll tricks un-rummaged. Lyrically, The Nashville Sound is timely. Musically, it is timeless.

It's also worth noting that this album isn't credited to Isbell alone. For the first time since 2011's Here We Rest, Isbell's band, the 400 Unit, gets title billing. "Even when I was writing, I could always hear the band's stamp on the finished product," Jason says. "These songs needed more collaboration on the arrangements to make them work, and I felt like the band deserved it after the way they played." Given Cobb's strict insistence on cutting songs live with no demos or rehearsals, you can easily imagine how the brilliantly raw performances on the record will translate to the stage when the band takes these new songs out on the road.

And boy, there's nothing like a 400 Unit show. Not just because the band smokes, but also because Isbell's fans are among music's most ardent. They listen to these songs for months and months on their own, and that momentum rolls them right up to the doors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, or the Beacon Theatre in New York or the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta. And when the band kicks in, they are ecstatic. It's a rock 'n' roll show that feels like fellowship.

Which begs a question: Why do Jason's songs strike us so deeply? What makes this music of the soul? The answer has to do with Jason's authenticity, his intellect, his rootedness in both tradition (see: the childhood in Green Hill, Alabama, near Muscle Shoals, where he grew up picking and singing in the style he remembers here on "Something To Love") as well as modernity (see: Jason singing about anxiety, or his complicated relationship to his iPhone).

Simply put, Jason has a gift for taking big, messy human experiences and compressing them into badass little combustible packages made of rhythm, melody and madly efficient language. The songs are full of little hooks-it could be guitar line that catches one listener, or a quick lyric that strikes to the heart of another-and an act of transference takes place. The stories Jason tells become our own. The music is coming not from Jason and the band, but from within us.

As you listen to this record, you will hear many themes: humor, heartache, wisdom, beauty, hope. But chief among them, strangely, is leadership.

If Southeastern (2013) was the Getting Sober record (Jason has been searingly honest in both songs and interviews about the time he spent in rehab), and Something More Than Free (2015) was the New Clarity record, maybe this one, The Nashville Sound, is the Way Forward.
And who better to lead us forward than Jason Isbell? Jason is a relentless and fearless selfinterrogator. (The first line of "Cumberland Gap"-"There's an answer here if I look hard enough"-will be familiar to those who know him.) And this album is a challenge, a gauntlet in song: Let's claim ownership of our biases ("White Man's World"). Let's embrace and celebrate the uncomfortable idea that the force that activates both life and love is death (the instantclassic "If We Were Vampires"). Let's consciously choose light over darkness ("Hope the High Road"). And for God's sake, if you are feeling anxious, alone, disenfranchised, depressed, mad as hell, or scared as shit, find something that gasses you up and work at it ("Something to Love"). Jason, it seems, after years grinding the rail that separates terra firma from the brink, has put in the sweat equity it takes to hug it out with his demons and fill his life with meaning, bright and clean.

If that sounds good to you, this album lights the path.
Frank Turner
Frank Turner
For three long and often lonely years of life on the road, plying a brand of honest and passionate folk/punk, Frank Turner continued to rise to prominence with an ever increasing following. But it was in the sweaty climes of the Lock Up Stage at Reading and Leeds 2008 that his solo career really started to take off. Inside the packed out tents, heaving with adoring fans and intrigued passers-by, Frank led the congregation in a mass sing-a-long; a stirring set that not only sparked the interest of the British mainstream but resonated unassumingly across the pond as a wealth of American punk bands watched approvingly from the sidelines.

No stranger to the festival, Frank had not only played the Lock Up Tent with former hardcore band Million Dead back in 2005 but also as a tentative solo artist in 2007 when debut album ‘Sleep Is For The Week’ was just an underground success. Within the following year, Frank’s popularity grew with yet more touring and the release of second album 'Love Ire & Song' in March 08. He started to play larger headline shows and develop the live band that he was looking for.

The profits of all his hard work came together that festival weekend; it kicked started a new wave of interest and thanks to the unwavering support from Radio 1 DJs Mike Davies and Steve Lamacq, the rest of Radio 1 began to follow suit. Soon enough when Frank’s single 'Long Live The Queen' – taken from ‘Love Ire & Song' – was released in October, it made the R1 C-list, was Single Of The Week on Sara Cox’s show and helped sell out Frank’s largest UK headline tour culminating in a bursting-over-capacity-finale at London’s Scala. The following single 'Reasons Not To Be An Idiot' released in January of this year eclipsed those successes by graduating to the R1’s B-list, 6Music’s A-list and XFM’s daytime playlist, prompted a Live Lounge session for Sara Cox, a Hub Session for George Lamb as well as making iTunes Single Of The Week all helping to recruit a new army of Frank followers.

It was also during this time that sections of the US punk fraternity began to take notice. Having watched the infamous Lock Up Stage set at Reading and Leeds, Vinnie from Less Than Jake got in contact asking to release 'The First Three Years' album (a collection of all early and previously unreleased material, live tracks and b-sides released in the UK in December 08 on his vinyl label Paper and Plastick. Chuck Ragan took him on the Revival Tour with Tim Barry across America, he did a few shows with up and coming stars Fake Problems and New Jersey boys The Gaslight Anthem invited him to support them on their huge UK and European dates in the early part of this year. It was evident that word was spreading throughout the punk scenes both sides of the Atlantic and by the time Frank flew in to Austin, Texas for the annual industry showcase SXSW in March, a whole new chapter in his story was about to begin.

Frank’s brand of folk songwriting, catchy melodies and punk passion had reached the ears of the CEO of US independent label Epitaph Records, Bad Religion’s legendary guitarist: Brett Gurewitz. Excited by what he had heard and seen when Frank headlined LA’s notorious Viper Rooms in March, Gurewitz got in contact and soon enough plans were formulated and a worldwide deal was inked. With loyalty and integrity firmly intact, Frank kept his relationship with his existing label Xtra Mile Recordings for all releases in the UK and Ireland and so the two labels will work closely for what will undoubtedly be an exciting new era in Frank’s ever evolving career.

“Frank Turner’s music is a revelation to me,” says Gurewitz. “I can’t stop listening to it. It’s a real privilege to get out there and help Xtra Mile spread the Frank Turner gospel.”

Epitaph is the perfect home for Frank. With its fiercely independent spirit, rich in punk and hardcore history it is also home to the song-writing talents of Nick Cave and Tom Waits on sister label Anti; mirroring Frank’s cross-over appeal of punk ethics and strong song-writing abilities. Inspired by the likes of Bad Religion as a kid, this really is a dream come true for Frank.

So with this exciting plot in place the year ahead is looking pretty good. His third studio album, ‘Poetry Of The Deed’, released worldwide in September, sees Frank venture in a more rock direction recruiting his outstanding band for the recording process. Performing live has always been at the very heart of the Frank Turner experience and whilst he’s still writing all the songs, they will be recorded live to help bring that experience to the album. Grammy nominated producer Alex Newport – who has previously worked with Death Cab For Cutie, At The Drive-In, Two Gallants – is on production duties after contacting Frank directly asking if they could work together. Coinciding nicely with the release are tours in America and Europe as well as the massive UK headline tour in October, where having previously supported The Gaslight Anthem at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire, he will return triumphantly to headline for the last night of the tour.

Before that though, another summer of further touring and festivals lies ahead. He will jet off to the East Coast of America to support The Offspring for 12 dates of their tour in July, performing solo to potentially 30,000 people. He’ll play at Camp Bestival and Jersey Live fest and return full circle to this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival. This time, however, he will play the larger Radio 1/NME tent midway through the afternoon and judging by what happened last year it’ll be another defining moment in this story of one beardy man and his acoustic guitar. The best is yet to come.
Venue Information:
Ovens Auditorium
2700 E Independence Blvd
Charlotte, NC, 28205

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