Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: “Here We Rest”
There’s a reason this album was the consensus choice for the best Americana release of 2011. Isbell is a strong songwriter, and there’s not a weak one in the bunch (“Alabama Pines,” “Codeine” and “Daisy Mae” stand out). His slightly raspy, slightly pudgy-sounding voice infuses every one of them with a mix of naive sadness and the sort of world-weariness that is earned through tough experience. If this record doesn’t make you feel something, well, you may be incapable of experiencing human emotion.