Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, James McMurtry

Jason Isbell has finally established himself as something more than a former Drive-By Trucker. With the release of his third studio album Here We Rest on April 12, he and his band the 400 Unit have moved on — right into their old territory.

Last fall, Isbell brought a twang-rock jam session to Off Broadway that, while rousing, was more Guitar Hero than working-class hero. This latest album, however, is a return to Southern roots storytelling, setting a wistful tone with opening track "Alabama Pines," a fiddle-stitched ode to the band's home state. It's the devils — and angels — in the details of this batch of evocative pop songs that have the power to redeem mainstream country music.

Here, he's joined by another singer-songwriter with redeeming qualities and a penchant for twang, James McMurtry.