A swelteringly hot summer evening couldn’t stop the rock on Sunday night at Merriweather Post Pavilion, where My Morning Jacket and Jason Isbell came to share material from their recent albums and more.
A lauded guitarist and songwriter, Isbell released his fifth record, Something More Than Free, just over a week ago. The album has already broken expectations by reaching number one on not just the country Billboard charts, but on the rock, indie, and folk charts as well. At the core of his 11-song opening set were five tracks from that album, along with several each from the previous two releases, Southeastern and Here We Rest. Longtime fans even got some service in “Decoration Day,” the title track of one the Drive-By Truckers – a band Isbell famously did some time in – most memorable albums.
Isbell’s songs are narratives; each one feeling like it has a story to tell, something which could easily be lost to an opening act in a venue the size of Merriweather where thousands of people are there only to see the main act (especially a quiet country artist opening for a rock band known for their much louder performances). But Isbell and his band the 400 Unit managed to draw the attention of that crowd surprisingly well, and by the end of his set he’d surely made more than a few new fans.