Jason Isbell stopped in at the KXT Live Session studio this week, playing songs from his upcoming album Weathervanes and answering questions about his recent HBO documentary, his Twitter antics, and his upcoming role in Martin Scorsese’s film Killers of the Flower Moon.
Featuring the 400 Unit’s guitarist Sadler Vaden, the duo played acoustic renditions of “Death Wish,” “Middle of the Morning,” and “Cast Iron Skillet” – songs that are currently available for listening from the new album.
Isbell joked that since Jack White had already done an acoustic cover of “Death Wish,” that he was basically doing a cover of Jack White’s cover of his own song.
KXT Program Director Benji McPhail interviewed the four-time GRAMMY Award winner, diving into details on how Isbell likes to anchor songs in something a listener can hold onto and take along the journey.
Isbell’s HBO documentary Running With Our Eyes Closed with director/producer Sam Jones (the person behind Wilco’s I Am Trying to Break Your Heart doc) was released April 7 of this year.
The documentary offers an intimate look at Isbell’s formative years as a young musician with Drive-By Truckers, as well as the problematic tendencies that come with a rock and roll lifestyle. It also gives a window into the tender pieces of his marriage to Amanda Shires that comes to a head during the recording process of Reunions.
“There are two kinds of documentaries,” Isbell said. “There’s the kind that the artist is comfortable with, and there’s the kind that’s not boring.”
The documentary isn’t Isbell’s only recent on-screen appearance, as he was cast in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film Killers of the Flower Moon alongside movie heavyweights Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.
In the interview, he laughed about how for the first three days De Niro might have thought Isbell was a method actor – because he never dropped his Southern accent off-screen – until realizing that’s just how he talked.
The film premieres at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival May 20.
While all the movie stuff may be exciting, the heart of the artist is still inside the songs of his discography and upcoming Weathervanes album, set to release June 9.
The 13-song album is a collection of songs about adult love, change, the danger of nostalgia, the interrogation of myths, cruelty, regret and redemption.
Find a breakdown of songs on the album’s Bandcamp Page.
Catch Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit tonight May 9 in Dallas at The Factory in Deep Ellum and ACL Live in Austin at the Moody Theatre the next three nights.
See his full tour dates on his website.
Jessica Waffles is a freelance photographer/videographer and regular contributor to KXT.
Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.