Along with his multiple Americana Music Awards, and many accolades from critics declaring him one of the best songwriters of this generation, Jason Isbell is now the owner of the #1 album in all of country music according to Billboard. Isbell’s album Something More Than Free—released by Isbell’s Southeastern Records via Thirty Tigers—pulled off a last-minute rally to best Alan Jackson’s latest Angels & Alcohol to claim the #1 spot.
Both artists sold a rounded off 46,000 copies of their respective albums, but according to Billboard, Jackson fell “just a few hundred shy” of Isbell’s tally for the week ending July 23rd. The previous numbers from HITS Daily Double had Alan Jackson with a slight edge. Their unofficial tally had Jackson at 42,341 albums, edging out Isbell by less than 500 units at 41,870. Isbell came on strong at the end. Both albums were released on the second official Friday release day as part of a global initiative to make the release date for albums universal.
Something More Than Free also comes in at #1 on the Indie, Rock, and Folk charts, and #4 on the all-genre Billboard 200. Jason Isbell’s best showing previously was with his last record, 2013’s Southeastern, which came in at #23 on Billboard’s all-genre Billboard 200, and #7 on the rock charts.
The 36-year-old Alabama native began his career with the Drive-By Truckers at the age of 22 as a singer, songwriter, and guitar player before branching off on a solo career beginning in 2007. Since then he has become the poster boy for the new generation of Americana artists, racking up multiple Americana Music Awards and regularly selling out theater-sized venues to appreciative crowds. Just as much a rock musician as country, Jason Isbell’s sound crosses traditional genre lines to unite a fervent fan base around quality and taste.
“I’m overwhelmed by the early success of the album,” Isbell told Billboard. “I never expected my music to be accepted by anything resembling mainstream., and in all honestly it makes me realize I have more in common with my fellow music fans than I had previously thought … I’m just glad people still want to hear the music I’m making. As long as they do, I’ll keep doing it.”
Jason spent last weekend performing at the Newport Folk Festival. You can listen to his full performance via NPR.