Isbell: If the Dixie Chicks had been Tim McGraw, nobody would have cared

Jason Isbell did an interview with Pod Save America co-host Tommy Vietor last month who used to be a spokesperson for President Obama but also happened to be a passionate Isbell fan.  He caught up with Jason after his show at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, and talked about a lot of interesting stuff, much of it political given recent events.  Rolling Stone has highlighted six of the most interesting things to come out of the conversation. You can hear the whole thing below if you have a spare half an hour. Continue reading “Isbell: If the Dixie Chicks had been Tim McGraw, nobody would have cared”

Jason Isbell tells Republicans: “I’m hinged as hell!”

Don’t tell Jeremy Hunt for God’s sake Jason.  News from RS Country today around a spat that’s broken out between the lovely Mr Isbell and the Republican Party in the US.  RS Country report: ““I was thinking today about how it feels to be an unhinged leftist,” quipped Jason Isbell two songs into a solo acoustic performance early Monday evening in Nashville, a short-notice but instantly sold-out rally for Democrat Tennessee senate candidate Phil Bredesen. Referencing shots fired earlier that day at left-leaning entertainers by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) — who, in an official statement, called out Isbell and co-headliner Ben Folds by name as members of the “unhinged left” — the outspoken country firebrand went on. “For the first time in my life I’m hinged. I quit drinking years ago, I got a three-year-old daughter… I’m hinged as hell!” Continue reading “Jason Isbell tells Republicans: “I’m hinged as hell!””

David Crosby joins Isbell on stage at Newport – Watch

RS Country reported over the weekend that David Crosby made a surprise appearance during Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s headlining set at the Newport Folk Festival on Friday to perform two Crosby, Stills & Nash classic songs. They report that “Crosby, who was not on the lineup for this year’s Newport Folk Festival, joined Isbell for “Wooden Ships” and the Neil Young-penned CSNY cut “Ohio.” Crosby and Isbell shared vocals on the former track as the two rockers tacked an extended guitar solo to the 1969 track. Continue reading “David Crosby joins Isbell on stage at Newport – Watch”

Black Deer Festival – Eridge Park, 22nd-24th June 2018

Every festival I’ve been to for the last 5 years has ended up as kind of tsunami of varying proportions, and if you believe it’s all evidence of the Gods’ passing judgement on the headliners, then somebody up there must think quite a lot of new americana festival Black Deer which took place for the first time this year in the idyllic surroundings of Eridge Park in Kent. Every stage but one was geared up for whatever the weather held in store but as it happened it could have taken place without a single tent and canopy and it would still have been fine. Continue reading “Black Deer Festival – Eridge Park, 22nd-24th June 2018”

New Isbell live album on the way

Jason Isbell hits the UK next week for an appearance at the Black Deer Festival down in Kent and if you can’t make it there in person, the next best thing is listening from the comfort of your own armchair/kitchen stool/car. RS Country report: “For Americana fans, one of the live music highlights of 2017 was Jason Isbell’s historic six-night, sold out run at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Now, Isbell has two exciting new Ryman-related announcements. Continue reading “New Isbell live album on the way”

Jason Isbell sings Townes classic at Outlaws gig – Watch

Rolling Stone Country are carrying this clip today which you can throw yourself into below – it was recorded at the new ‘Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s’ exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Put together by Shooter Jennings and Dave Cobb, it featured musicianship from the likes of Amanda Shires, Robby Turner, Chris Hennessee,  Charlie Worsham, Chris Shiflett and Jason Isbell. Isbell himself performed Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Pancho and Lefty’ with backing from the trouble and strife/musical partner on fiddle and harmony vocals. As RS put it “Turner’s mournful pedal steel and Hennessee’s subtle harmonica accented the rendition, but it was Isbell’s slide guitar solo that brought it to its rousing denouement, as Isbell sang the final verse ­– handled by the late Jody Payne when Nelson performed it on tour – about Lefty living in that cheap hotel.”

2018 Americana Music Association Awards nominees revealed

News in from the AMA overnight (the US version) of their list of nominees for their honours and awards for 2018, and there’s good news for Mr Isbell, Margo Price and Brandi Carlile among others – in fact the lists are dominated by the 3 artists, although they are also joined by Mary Gauthier for her excellent “Rifles & Rosary Beads” record, nominated for album of the Year), John Prine (nominated for Artist of the Year), and Lee Ann Womack (nominated for Song of the Year). Continue reading “2018 Americana Music Association Awards nominees revealed”

Jason Isbell chats to Sam Jones about “corporate crap”

Rolling Stone are reporting a nice little interview this morning with Jason Isbell who talks to Sam Jones in the latest episode of the online Off Camera interview series about various things including bad music which he describes as “a means to, or more precisely a hindrance to, understanding other peoples’ experiences of the world.” They go on to report: “Jones brings up the idea of empathetic songwriting and its importance in the context of the pop format, which leads Isbell to argue for the moral significance of “good” music. Continue reading “Jason Isbell chats to Sam Jones about “corporate crap””

Interview: Black Deer Festival’s Gill Tee and Debs Shilling

Deborah Shilling and Gill Tee photographed by Alun Callender

One of the most exciting events this year for the world of Americana in the UK takes place towards the end of next month. Black Deer is basically everything you want from a festival – frighteningly good artists such as Jason Isbell and Iron & Wine that fall just the right side of cool (i.e. they’re probably not going to do moody sets), multiple stages, good food and a part of the country that’s as good a guarantee of decent weather as you’re going to get from somewhere in the UK in June (if the presumptiveness of that angers fate and it now does rain, apologies in advance). Oh and motorbikes too. Mark Whitfield spoke to the co-founders of Black Deer, Gill and Debs, about how the festival came about, who they’re most looking forward to see play and what americana music means to them. Continue reading “Interview: Black Deer Festival’s Gill Tee and Debs Shilling”

Jason Isbell talks to RS: “We ate chicken fingers from the concession stand at the Grammys”

RS has published a nice piece on Jason Isbell which includes some snippets from an interview they recently had with him. They report: “At this year’s Grammys, where he was up for several awards, Jason Isbell didn’t exactly tear the place up. “We weren’t on the televised part of the show, so we didn’t get the good seats,” he says with a good-natured laugh. “We wound up eating chicken fingers from the concession stand.”  Continue reading “Jason Isbell talks to RS: “We ate chicken fingers from the concession stand at the Grammys””