Super 8 - Jason Isbell

from the album Southeastern (2013)

Many moons ago, I used to ramble around the southeastern states with a country-rockabilly band and their small - but faithful - bevy of devotees.  One weekend, we all convoyed down to Savannah, Georgia for a series of weekend shows at a joint called The Velvet Elvis, one of my favorite venues on the redneck underground circuit.

It had all the makings of being a great weekend.  Early June in Savannah ensured large crowds made up of SCAD students, tourists, and assorted local characters.  The tourists were key, because they would buy the band's CDs - and other swag - ensuring that there was drinking money and a little less financial strain.

When I reached town, I picked up the Savannah Daily News and saw that their weekend section printed a promo piece I wrote for the Velvet Elvis gigs verbatim.  It is always a high to see your words appear in print.  It also meant larger crowds.

But somehow the weekend went dastardly wrong.  Our world was typically like a Robert Altman film, with interesting characters having their lives interweave, resulting in great story lines centered on a hardscrabble band climbing the music ladder.  This weekend turned into a Fellini nightmare, with broken hearts, stolen money, and a woman taking her aging Welsh Corgi to see the ocean one last time.

The band never recovered from that weekend, and it all went down at a Super 8 motel.

When I listen to the song Super 8 by Jason Isbell, I could swear that he spent that weekend in the room next door.  Hearing the line "I don't want to die in a Super 8 motel / Just because somebody's evening didn't go so well" brings that fateful trip back to me.

Jason Isbell is an incredible talent.  His songs tell stories that are rich in character and characters.  From his years rocking with the Drive By Truckers to his recent solo-acoustic tour with Ryan Adams, his songs and performances are amongst the finest I have encountered.  His new album is one of this year's highlights.  Check him out.

Click Here to hear the album version of Super 8.

Click Here to watch Super 8 performed last weekend at Bonnaroo.


  1. What a weird but fascinating story, but it leaves me wanting more! It's a definite cliff hanger.

    If Jason Isbell was not a young teen in 1999, I would swear, too that he was next door to this mess! Those lyrics are crazy!

    Good song. I like this guy.

  2. Someday, I'll write the full story. Sad ending though.

    If you check out the rest of the album, you'll be impressed by the songwriting. There are three or four other of his songs I almost wrote about, but couldn't pass on the Super 8 story.

    1. You're right. Impressed doesn't even begin to describe it...the depth of his songwriting is hard to describe.

      I think I know the other few you were debating...I have a few myself, but Songs That She Sang in the Shower- well, it's beautiful. Then there is Elephant, which I have to think that he personally lived, as no one knows those emotions unless you have; and that makes me very sad. I also love Different Days and Cover me I bought the album. It's already my favorite, probably one of my favorites of all time. Yes, it's true.

      Thank you for introducing me to it. Now I must work.

      If my company only knew what they are paying me to do these days....

  3. I like Live Oak best

    1. That song is awesome too ! So well constructed with a great wild west vibe...hard to pick a favorite, for me.

  4. Songs That She Sang In The Shelter is the song that really does it for me. The visual imagery, the timeless songwriting, and the piano track make this as good as any singer/songwriter tunes in the past few decades.

    I also really dig Traveling Alone. It strikes a chord with me.

  5. That really is my favorite too...haven't heard a song like it in so long. Gorgeous.
    I wondered if Traveling Alone spoke to you.

    Man, he really gets all up in a person's emotional repertoire.

    I'm a little exhausted from it all...but in a good way :)


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