Review – Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires Surprise Release ‘Sea Songs’

If you follow the mainstream and independent country scenes like us at Country Perspective, you’ve noticed a lot of music coming out lately. Most of it is great too. So as we’re all trying to keep up with the announced releases, Jason Isbell and his wife Amanda Shires dropped a surprise release amongst all of this. As I said on Twitter, slow down country music! I like all of this great music, but I want time to consume it all. Of course after this brief initial exasperation, I became happy because any time Isbell releases new music, you pay attention. His 2013 album Southeastern was without a doubt one of my favorite albums released in the last couple of years. So without further ado let’s take a look at Isbell and Shires special two song EP Sea Songs.

The first song is “I Follow Rivers,” which was originally recorded by Lykki Li. The song has a folksy, acoustic approach. It is quite, yet a quick song. It’s about love where each person in the relationship vows to follow the other like a river. The song fits Isbell and Shires perfectly, as you can tell it’s very indicative of their own loving relationship. Their voices blend together seamlessly and the acoustic instrumentation is simply there to drive the rhythm of the song. The vocals are what make this song great.

The other song is “Mutineer,” which was originally recorded by Warren Zevon. Personally I think this song is better than “I Follow Rivers” because it tells more of a story and conveys more emotion. The theme is pretty much the same though, as it’s another love song. It’s centered around the high seas and pirates, as one in the relationship is the mutineer, while the other is the witness. This song also takes a stripped down approach. It’s just a guitar and some brief violin play. Isbell and Shires’ vocals are flawless again. Really it’s kind of obvious, as both are phenomenally talented.

I’m not sure if this was part of the planning of the release, but it was very clever to release this last week right around Valentine’s Day. These songs fit perfect for the holiday, so kudos on the timing. I know this brief two song EP makes me want an entire album of duets from Isbell and Shires. I think it would do really well and I hope they consider this in the future. I know they collaborate on tour of course. This is most likely just a special release too, as I wouldn’t expect these songs to be on either of their next albums. While you wait for those though I definitely recommend getting these songs to hold you over until then. Sea Songs is a nice little EP to add to your daily playlist. Great work once again from Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires.

“I Follow Rivers” Grade: 8.5/10

“Mutineer” Grade: 9/10

5 thoughts on “Review – Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires Surprise Release ‘Sea Songs’

  1. Zack February 18, 2015 / 11:19 am

    Always had a bit of a sour tatse in my mouth for Isbell after the Dierks Bentley fued but I agree he can make some great music. I’ll have to check this out.

    Also Josh and Derek, you may have noticed my name comes up highlighted now. That’s because I started doing my own personal reviews for songs/albums. I just wanted to say that you guys were one of the inspirations that led me to start doing this so I just wanted to say thank you to both of you!


    • Josh Schott February 18, 2015 / 11:31 am

      Glad we could inspire you! It makes me happy that this blog is making a positive impact. I’ll have to check out your reviews.


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