1. Life & Culture

An Alabama musician's Ybor inspiration

Published Oct. 2, 2013

Jason Isbell's latest album, Southeastern, has gotten plenty of critical acclaim. Not surprising when a songwriter as talented as Isbell decides to confront addictions that loomed just as large in his life and career. "I sobered up and I swore off that stuff, forever this time," he sings on Cover Me Up, a love song with more than a trace of autobiography that kicks off the album. But it's not just his recovery that gives this album by the former member of Drive-By Truckers its lyrical punch, it's the stories of terrible and sometimes hilarious benders, one of which comes with an intriguing local name-check. In the song Traveling Alone, a trucker yearning for a shared life recounts a low point from the road:

Damn near strangled by my appetite

Ybor City on a Friday night

Couldn't even stand upright

So high, the street girls wouldn't take my pay

She said come see me on a better day

She just danced away


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