Song of the Day: A Rock Tune about ‘Drunk Dreams’ and Getting Sober

Okay, so I’ve become a bit of a Jason Isbell fanatic. Rachel can tell you that I listen to this Americana songwriter constantly, especially the song “Outfit.” I wanted to highlight one of Isbell’s songs off his new album that I connected with from the first time I heard it.

Isbell started his career as a songwriter and guitarist for the Drive-By Truckers in 2001. By the time 2007 came around, Isbell had gone solo, releasing his first solo album, Sirens of the Ditch.

His solo career has been very successful, but he’s certainly not an overnight success. He’s paid his dues. Reunions is his seventh solo studio album, and it was released on May 8, 2020 – right in the middle of the pandemic.

The song I want to feature today is “It Gets Easier,” the second-to-last track on the album. I read an NPR interview with Isbell where he talks about making the new album, and it reaffirmed many of the things I thought when hearing the songs.

Isbell isn’t shy about the fact he’s a recovering alcoholic (working on eight-plus years of sobriety). He said many of the songs on Reunions are about him looking back on his rocky road of recovery and the person he used to be in his drinking days.

Jason Isbell pictured from a Rolling Stone review of the new album, Reunions. Photo credit: Rollingstone.com

I love “It Gets Easier” because it’s probably the one song on the album that’s most clearly about recovery. The song starts with Isbell singing, “Last night I dreamed that I’d been drinkin’/Same dream I have ’bout twice a week/I had one glass of wine/I woke up feelin’ fine/That’s how I knew it was a dream.”

For anyone in recovery, Isbell gives a great description of what we call “drunk dreams” in the rooms. These are the frightful and realistic dreams we often have while getting sober – dreams that we took a drink, or got drunk, and then wake up panicked that we threw away our sobriety time.

The rest of the song’s lyrics are great, too, including the chorus’ refrain: “It gets easier, but it never gets easy/I can say it’s all worth it/But you won’t believe me.” I love this line, and I can relate to it. Sobriety and living life without a drink gets easier over time, but like Jason sings, it certainly never gets easy.

Here are the full lyrics from the song:

Last night I dreamed that I’d been drinking
Same dream I have ’bout twice a week
I had one glass of wine
I woke up feeling fine
And that’s how I knew it was a dream

Last night I dreamed that I’d been drinking
Cold burn of whiskey down my throat
My hand turned into a rattlesnake
And I laughed myself awake
And that’s how I knew it was a joke

It gets easier, but it never gets easy
I can say it’s all worth it
But you won’t believe me
Hold down your liquor
Or swallow your pride
You’d rather keep it inside
It gets easier but it never gets easy

Last night I did myself a favor
I called in sick and went downtown
Drove past the local bar
A cop got behind my car
I wish he would pull me over now
Last night I let myself remember
Times I forgot a woman’s name
I blacked out behind the wheel
How tight the handcuffs feel
My daughter’s eyes when she’s ashamed

It gets easier, but it never gets easy
I can say it’s all worth it
But you won’t believe me
You can expect her to follow your lead
She’s fine with wine and her weed
It gets easier but it never gets easy
It never gets easy

It gets easier, but it never gets easy
I can say it’s all worth it but you won’t believe me
Hold down your liquor, or swallow your pride
You’d rather keep it inside
It gets easier, but it never gets easy
It never gets easy
It never gets easy

Check out the song below. If you like it, cool. If not, no worries. You can support Jason Isbell’s music and check out his new album at this link.

(Cover Photo Credit: Amazon.com)

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