This isn't the spot to lay down odds on the third race. OTB is where Others Talk Back and give you the lowdown on what they've been feeling lately. This one's for the customers.

Jason Isbell – “Sirens of the Ditch”  This album first came out in 2007, and has been remastered and expanded with four additional cuts.  I have always followed Mr. Isbell since the Drive By Trucker days, but when I listened to this album I really had no recollection of hearing it before.  Even though it was his first solo album after leaving the Truckers, none of the songs registered that I had heard them before.  I know I listened to it when it came out in July 2007, and I know that I have the original album, but it was like I had never heard it before.  My fresh ears found this a delightful album, probably one of his best before 2013’s “Southeastern” and the albums after that.  The album is split between heartfelt slower songs and rocking faster songs.  About the only complaint that I have is that the songs can be a bit verbose.  Mr. Isbell had not developed the economical way of lyric writing that he found with “Southeastern.” And that is only the complaint that I have, and that is a minor one.  This eleven year old album has gem after gem on it, and it really was a lost treasure until this reissue. - Ted Talks

Jayhawks- “Back Roads and Abandoned Motels”  The Jayhawks played a great concert just a few weeks ago in Madison, right before the fireworks downtown.  They played several songs from this album which wetted my appetite for hearing the album.  All the songs on this album, with the exception of two originals, were co-written by Gary Louris, the main songwriter, guitarist and vocalist of the Jayhawks, with other performers.    Performers like the Dixie Chicks, Jakob Dylan, Ari Hest, Carrie Rodriquez and others.  Even though most of the songs were not written for the Jayhawks and most had been released by other performers, they fit seamlessly into the Jayhawks oeuvre effortlessly.  The band’s performance made these songs Jayhawks songs.    And “Back Roads and Abandoned Motels” is their best album since 2011’s “Mockingbird Time.”  Twenty-two years after the first Jayhawks album, and this album shows that the Jayhawks are still going strong. - Ted Talks