People who case that Southeastern to be Jason Isbell’s breakthrough room mitigating the excellence the his earlier work. Songs like “Outfit,” “Goddamn Lonely Love” and also “Danko/Manuel,” from his stint through the Drive-By Truckers, and “Dress Blues,” “Alabama Pines” and “Codeine,” from his first couple of albums top the 400 Unit, currently signaled a singular songwriting talent. However it is same to say that Southeastern, exit in 2013, is the album whereby Isbell’s complying with started to substantially widen, with “Cover Me Up,” the album’s opening track, serving as the tipping allude for the groundswell.
As Isbell called NPR, “Cover Me Up,” a retelling of the beforehand stages of his romance with Amanda Shires, who he married soon after finishing Southeastern, wasn’t straightforward one come write. “That to be a tough one because that me to also get through without breaking down the an initial time, due to the fact that that one is yes, really personal,” Isbell recalled. “It’s not simple to sit down and open you yourself up and say, ‘This is just how much ns love you,’ friend know? that scary to perform that.”
That sort of honesty is what color etc many civilization to Isbell’s work, i beg your pardon is why it’s not surprising the “Cover Me Up” additionally encompasses his restore from substance abuse issues. “But i sobered up and also swore off the stuff/ Forever this time,” the sings in the second verse. However that just comes in the wake up of his admitting come his former bad behavior: “Put your belief to the test once I tore off your dress/ In Richmond ~ above high.”
“Cover Me Up” likewise expresses the method that romantic love is inseparable from vulnerability. In the an initial verse, Isbell looks ago at his former, raging ways, realizing that it to be a futile attempt to fill up part undefined hole: “I was so sure what I necessary was more/ Tried come shoot the end the sun.” yet he stumbles right into redemptive love anyway: “But ns made it through, ‘cause someone knew/ i was produced someone.”
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Another trademark the Isbell’s occupational that have the right to be discovered in “Cover Me Up” is his capability to slip sly humor into even the many intense moments. Thus the chorus once he sings, “Girl leave her boots by the bed we ain’t leaving this room/ it rotates someone requirements medical assist or the magnolias bloom.” In in between the harrowing recollections and the winking one-liners come clear-eyed, hard-earned sentiment: “But residence was a dream, one I’d never ever seen it spins you come along.”
It all leads to the present in the chorus which speak volumes about the nature the a love relationship: “Cover me up and know she enough/ To use me for good.” an alert the subtle way that Isbell traction double-meanings out of this seemingly basic exhortation. She will certainly cover the in the minute for warm and, in the larger picture, for protection from all the demons that when ensnared him. “For good” have the right to mean both the his search for an interpretation is over and that his self-destructive tendencies have actually now been squelched together he aims toward producing something positive.
Southeastern opens with “Cover Me Up,” the album’s emotional fulcrum. It was a bolder gambit, specifically considering some of the darker product that follows it ~ above the album, however it works due to the fact that the tune itself isn’t free of darkness. We need to hear it ideal off the bat, since relationships like the one depicted so artfully through Jason Isbell in the song can act as a buffer against the bleak.