“Cumberland Gap,” the second release from Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit’s forthcoming LP, The Nashville Sound, is a rollicking, multi-layered, electric guitar-driven track that contrasts the more minimalist sound of Isbell’s recent solo records, Southeastern and Something More Than Free. “Cumberland Gap” follows a protagonist as he grapples with the choice between leaving home while he can or staying behind at the risk of remaining there forever. The fast-paced chorus poses his ultimate question – “Maybe the Cumberland Gap just swallows you whole?” – in such a frantic way that it begs even the most uninvolved listener to offer up a solution. The intense arrangement, although chaotic upon the first listen, perfectly complements the heartbreaking dilemma depicted by the lyrics.
Key Lyrics: “I thought about moving away, but what would my mama say / I’m all that she has left and I’m with her every day / As soon as the sun goes down, I find my way to the Mustang Lounge / And if you don’t sit facing the window you could be in any town.”
The Nashville Sound was produced by Dave Cobb, and will be available on June 16. Isbell & The 400 Unit are heading out on tour, and they’ll play a sold-out set of five shows at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium this fall. Find dates and information here, and listen to the new track below.