Every day is Memorial Day

Saw Amanda Shires, Jason Isbell and Dwight Yoakam in concert a week ago. Dwight and his band are top-notch, but the highlight for me was Jason Isbell. Loved his 2013 album Southeastern, and still do. But the song from his set list that gave me the most goose bumps was “Dress Blues” – a tribute to a fallen soldier from Jason’s Alabama hometown. The song is from Jason’s 2007 debut solo album Sirens of the Ditch and was written for Marine Matthew Conley, who was killed by an IED in Iraq at age 21, just weeks before he was to go home and be reunited with his wife, who was pregnant with their first child. The song deftly and beautifully pays tribute to the young man while questioning the decisions that caused his death.

There’s red, white and blue in the rafters
And there’s silent old men from the Corps
What did they say when they shipped you away
To fight somebody’s Hollywood war?

Nobody here could forget you
You showed us what we had to lose
You never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleepin’ in your dress blues
You never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleepin’ in your dress blues

Here’s a great essay about the song.

And here’s Jason performing it solo.

 

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