Thursday, May 25, 2017

Local Spins Concert Coverage Excerpt: "Jason Isbell exudes 'something more' than just country charm in inspiring Grand Rapids show"

The acclaimed Americana artist touring behind his latest album, "Something More Than Free," left the DeVos Performance Hall crowd mesmerized on Monday

By Matt Marn

Published by Local Spins - October 4, 2016

It's rare when a room of 2,000-plus people falls absolutely silent, hanging on every word from a solitary man strumming an acoustic guitar, bearing his heart with his songwriting.

And it can be just as compelling to see exuberant fans jump and scream for every beat of a high-powered, uptempo rock song, played to perfection by a full band.

The crowd that witnessed Jason Isbell on Monday night at DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids got plenty of both in the same show.

Fans sang along as Isbell led his band, The 400 Unit, through many of the Americana-fueled singer-songwriter's most familiar material, including songs from his newest release, "Something More Than Free."

His set followed a powerful, crowd-pleasing start from opening act Josh Ritter, who warmed up fans in style, with the acoustic guitarist accompanied onstage by an electric guitarist, a drummer, and an upright bassist. Oozing country twang, the veteran singer-songwriter's impressive tunes brought the audience to its feet, cheering, before the headliner even took the stage.

While Isbell had the audience laughing more than once with his banter, the Alabama native let his music do much of the talking.

And while many might consider his music as occupying the country end of the musical spectrum, Isbell and The 400 Unit displayed great versatility in their approach. So, a heartfelt acoustic ballad dedicated to his wife that left the crowd deeply moved was followed by a song that had Isbell plugging in his Telecaster to shred a bluesy guitar solo.

And for that, the crowd stayed up and cheered long after the lights came on.

Read more on Isbell's GR concert, as well as photo galleries from the show, only at Local Spins!

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