IOWA CITY, Iowa (April 4, 2014) — “Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled from across the lonesome ocean” from Dylan’s Boots of Spanish Leather adorns Jason’s inner arm. Amanda Shires, Jason’s wife, matching tattoo is from Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, “Love is not a march it’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.”
Jason telling Amanda he needed to go to rehab lead to Amanda telling Jason that if he said he needed to go to rehab more than once . . . she was going to hold him to it. In February 2012 Amanda, Jason’s manager Traci Thomas and Ryan Adams helped Jason enter Cumberland Heights treatment center in Nashville.
Southwestern is his 5th record since his departure from Drive-By Truckers and is his most personal recording to date. Southwestern is a departure from raucous guitar driven tunes with signature southern rock hooks. Jason played the majority of Southwesten with songs he wrote while in DBT sprinkled throughout.
“I sobered up and swore off that stuff for good this time” from Southwestern’s “Cover Me Up” hits hard for those who made the change. I shared tears with others in the crowd, including Jason, as he reveled himself in song.
Jason’s sobriety has assisted me accepting my own lifestyle change. Jason is the singer songwriter who convinced me that becoming sober was not the end but the first step in my awake life.
Jason, and the extremely talented 400 Unit, spent a few days in Iowa City which culminated with the sold out show at the Bluemoose, a part of Mission Creek Festival 2014.
In between songs, he asked if we thought he looked like a cop. It seems that as he was walking around downtown Iowa City, 7 people came up to him and asked if he was a cop. “It must be because I was not drinking and (because of) my haircut . . . I guess I have that 21 Jumpstreet effect.”
Having been a part of many a Isbell DBT show which ended with me trying to find a safe way home, this night was a Declaration Day! Pun intended.
Words by George Burrows
- Sirens in the Ditch 2007, Jason Isbell and the 400 Hundred Unit 2009, Here We Rest 2011, Southwestern 2013
Photos of Jason Isbell
by Paul Adams
Video of Jason Isbell
by Chad Walton