Jason Isbell’s Alt-Alt-Country Masterpiece

Jason Isbell at the 2016 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Calif. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
With much of the Americana genre descending into simplistic politics, Isbell has produced a magnificent, nuanced gem.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T here has long been a chasmic disconnect between the creators and the consumers of Americana music. The Americana songwriter still wants to be Woody Guthrie, but the Americana listener stopped being Tom Joad about 60 years ago. Americana — or alt-country, or folk, or whatever we’re calling it this week — speaks most to the experiences of Red America, of a rural, blue-collar demographic that is overwhelmingly conservative, Christian, and Republican. The people who make the music, meanwhile, tend to be — well, the other kind of Red.

The advent of the Trump era brought the divide to clearer view than

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