In my high school years I was really into Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. For my seventeenth birthday I got a big silver book of Dylan's lyrics and later a smaller book of Springsteen's, and I soon found that their lyrics were complimented by alcohol. I spent many a night back then drinking whiskey out of a dixie cup in my bedroom, the crickets chirping outside my screen window, mesmerized by the lines of All Along the Watchtower and Thunder Road. As college came and went I slowly lost touch with those books and those lyrics, like I lost touch with a lot of things as my drinking progressed over the years.
It was 2013 when I discovered Jason Isbell's album "Southeastern," an album on which Isbell reflects on his newfound sobriety, right around the time I was getting sober myself. I had known Isbell as a guitarist and vocalist for the band Drive By Truckers back in college, but those were different days. Some nights, when I catch myself studying the lyrics to some Isbell song on my phone or on my laptop, it feels like deja vu going back to those nights in high school; I feel young again.