When you think of the music of Jason Isbell, as a solo artist or with Drive-By Truckers, the first influence that comes to mind probably isn't John Prine. But the dean of tragic-comic songwriters has served as a kind of mentor, or at least a role model, for Isbell.
Finding the unconventional poetry in small, pure, utterly conventional moments of everyday life is what the Chicago native has been doing since the '70s. And it's what Isbell is aiming for, in his own way and in his own voice, in his mostly spare recent songs. And Prine is there in the melodies as well. Just listen to the standout track "Traveling Alone" from Isbell's breakthrough album Southeastern. The tune pays tribute to Prine's classic song of human isolation "Hello in There."More »