Song of the Day: A tough father’s blue-collar advice to his son

I love music, though I don’t have much experience writing about it. I wanted to pick some “songs of the day” to dig deeper into the history of the music I love, and share it with others on the blog. For today’s song, I picked one I’ve been obsessed with for the past year or so.

“Outfit” is a four-minute-plus track from the American rock band Drive-By Truckers. The track is off their 2003 album, Decoration Day, and was written by Jason Isbell. Isbell was a member of the band for about six years, before splitting with them and launching a (very) successful solo career.

Isbell and the Drive-By Truckers have both established a devoted following in the U.S. for songs that tell powerful stories of love, loss, dysfunction, and tragedy in American society – particularly the South.

The members of the Drive-By Truckers started their band in Athens, Georgia, and Isbell was raised in Northern Alabama.

I absolutely love “Outfit.” According to some research I did, the song is based on advice Isbell’s father gave him when he was young. Isbell’s dad was a house painter and, like so many of the characters in Isbell’s songs, a tough, blue-collar guy.

Here’s the lyrics from the chorus:

Don't call what you're wearing an outfit
Don't ever say your car is broke
Don't worry about losing your accent
A southern man tells better jokes
Have fun, stay clear of the needle
Call home on your sister's birthday
Don't tell them you're bigger than Jesus, don't give it away

Listen to the song below. If you like it, cool. If not, no worries.

Also, if you’re interested in Drive-By Truckers or Jason Isbell, here are links to their official sites here and here if you want to support their music. (Isbell has a brand new album out, by the way – and it’s good).

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