Jason Isbell Named Country Music Hall of Fame Artist-In-Residence
Add another landmark accolade to the growing list of acknowledgements for Americana stalwart Jason Isbell. After just finishing up an incredible 6-night sold out run at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville last week, it was announced Monday (10-16) morning that Jason Isbell will be the next Artist-In-Residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
“Jason is a tremendously accomplished performer whose songwriting skills have set him on a path to join the lofty ranks of writing legends like (Kris) Kristofferson and (John) Prine,” said museum CEO Kyle Young in a statement. “He will be our fourteenth artist-in-residence, and also our youngest, but the stellar work that he has done already in his career proves that he belongs in such august company.”
A very distinct and exclusive honor that has previously been bestowed to artists such as Country Hall of Famers Alan Jackson, “Cowboy” Jack Clement, Earl Scruggs, Tom T. Hall, Vince Gill, Connie Smith, and Kenny Rogers, it allows the artist the opportunity for exclusive performances at the Hall of Fame’s CMA Theater, as well as the recognition from one of country music’s most hallowed institutions.
Other non Hall of Fame performers who’ve been selected for the distinction in the past include Guy Clark, Jerry Douglas, Buddy Miller, Ricky Skaggs, and Rosanne Cash. Though the distinction is sometimes seen as a precursor to a Hall of Fame induction (this occurred for Alan Jackson, Kenny Rogers, “Cowboy” Jack Clement, and Connie Smith), the CMA is quick to dispel a connection. Obviously Jason Isbell’s service time doesn’t put him anywhere near Hall of Fame consideration at this point, but it does speak to the widening recognition the songwriter and performer is receiving.
Jason Isbell is up for the CMA’s Album of the Year on November 8th—which will be held at the Bridgestone Arena catty cornered to the Hall of Fame in downtown Nashville, and right down the street from the Ryman Auditorium. This recognition also is evidence that among other accomplishments, Jason Isbell is being accepted as a valued citizen of Music City, right beside many of Nashville’s major label mainstream stars.
Isbell’s last record is called The Nashville Sound. More acoustic and rock, or “Americana” than country, it has been a favorite of critics across many genres, and debuted at #1 on the country, rock, and folk/Americana charts when it was released on June 16th. Isbell won multiple Grammy Awards for his previous record Something More Than Free, after starting his career as a member of the Southern-based rock outfit The Drive-By Truckers. He released his first solo record Sirens of the Ditch in 2007.
Isbell’s performances at the Country Music Hall of Fame as part of the Artist-In-Residence program will be on December 5th, 12th, and 19th.
October 16, 2017 @ 10:35 am
Commence angry readers trying to discredit him “because he’s a liberal pushing a leftist agenda” in 5…4…3…2…
October 16, 2017 @ 10:58 am
Makes you wonder who the true “snowflakes” are…..
Good for Isbell and great for the Country Music Hall of Fame to honor Isbell this way. Now the Country Music Hall of Fame just needs to throw away all the FGL, Luke Bryan crud that they had when I last visited this spring. Of course, that same crud seemingly brought in a lot of teens and college students so what do I know?
October 16, 2017 @ 11:26 am
Jason Isbell’s favorite movie is La La Land.
October 16, 2017 @ 12:53 pm
Isbell is playing 3 nights at the Alabama Theater in January, 2018. Already have my tickets. It will be my third time to see him (once at the Ryman and once in New Orleans) despite my disagreement with his politics. He is a wonderfully talented musician and songwriter.
October 16, 2017 @ 4:44 pm
Why are you going political on a non-political article? The last several days have been nice on here without that crap.
October 16, 2017 @ 5:49 pm
Pipe down there, hombre. I wasn’t getting political at all. I was more or less ridiculing the ones who have such tendencies.
October 16, 2017 @ 5:52 pm
And besides, ever since Jason Isbell released his new material this year it seems to be an issue every time Trigger writes an article on him. All I’m doing is pointing out how ridiculous that is. No need to get all feisty.
October 16, 2017 @ 5:39 pm
I could give a fuck less about his politics (or any musician/artist for that matter), and to be honest expected more comments regarding the fact that he does not play country music (in my opinion).
He’s incredibly talented and there clearly is a large audience / demand for his music but at the end of the day I think this is a somewhat misguided pick for the COUNTRY MUSIC hall of fame….folk, Americana, songwriter etc hall of fame (if they existed) would be much more accurate, and to me seems like they’re sort of overcorrecting after all the B.S. they’ve picked in the not too distant past.
Regardless though good for him, been a fan since early DBT days and that’s #nevergonnachange
October 16, 2017 @ 5:55 pm
Even though I’ll say he’s a hell of a lot more country than what the radio calls country nowadays, I too always found it somewhat odd that he was being put in the country category. He’s always been more of a Folk/Americana guy to me. Still good music nonetheless!
October 17, 2017 @ 6:17 pm
I don’t care about his political views (misguided as they are) but when he said that God had left people who didn’t vote his way that is where he lost me. Vote however you like if you are a musician and if your music is good, I will listen and appreciate but when you dismiss someone’s faith because of their voting preferences, well, that is overstepping your bounds as a person.
I wouldn’t tolerate that from a friend and I certainly won’t tolerate it from a singer.
October 16, 2017 @ 10:39 am
I wonder if those shows will be acoustic or with his band
October 16, 2017 @ 10:52 am
I hope acoustic. Either way they will be awesome. Wish I could go
October 16, 2017 @ 11:42 am
Me too Columbia Outlaw, me too. But that ain’t possible unfortunately. But on the bright side Jason is such a class act he live streamed his Oct 13 show from the Ryman for all us fans who couldn’t go to those either. Plus Amanda Shires was the opener and Margo Price joined her and that was streamed also. Both shows are up on YT if anyone is interested. And I guess I don’t need to say it is great, but I will anyway. It is Great !
October 16, 2017 @ 10:54 am
Saw him at the Peter Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon about a month ago. Monster songwriter, great singer and amazing band.
October 16, 2017 @ 10:58 am
Just saw him on night 3 of the recent 6 night stand at Ryman. I’ve never seen him and his band (or many bands) firing on all cylinders like the 600 Unit were. Somewhere this all plateaus, but this fan is enjoying every step of the climb.
October 16, 2017 @ 11:31 am
Is “catty corner” a thing? I’ve always heard “kitty corner”. Wondering if it’s a regional thing vs a typo.
October 16, 2017 @ 12:24 pm
I say catty corner here in Ohio.
So happy for Jason. I love seeing him get the recognition he deserves.
October 16, 2017 @ 2:19 pm
Yeah it’s catty corner in the south (from the Rust Belt to Nebraska and everywhere south of there) and it’s kitty corner pretty much everywhere else north, east, and west of that region.
October 16, 2017 @ 5:18 pm
Kitty Corner reminds me of a prostitute I used to buy coke from.
October 19, 2017 @ 5:28 pm
Hop town, where you been I miss you!
October 16, 2017 @ 5:41 pm
Always thought it would be spelled like caddy / kaddy corner bc that’s how I’ve always heard it said
October 16, 2017 @ 12:51 pm
Yes, it’s a thing. Same as catty wampus. It means positioned diagonally or at an angle. At least that’s what it means in the South.
October 16, 2017 @ 12:59 pm
I actually ageee with his politics and I’ve tried to like has music, but it doesn’t grab me. Nevertheless, I can appreciate his talent so I’m glad someone like him is getting this honor.
October 16, 2017 @ 1:20 pm
I actually don’t like his politics and have tried to like his music, but it doesn’t grab me, either. Part of it is his thin and reedy voice. Nevertheless, I can appreciate why some people like him, am glad he’s getting this honor, and hope he continues to love his woman, raise his family, and write songs that are still more country than Luke Bryan.
October 16, 2017 @ 1:32 pm
Yeah, been on the fence about him. Saw him live and felt 50 percent of the show was country and 50 percent rock. Really enjoyed the Rock side a lot, of course I like Drive By Truckers. As for politics, it annoys me, I prefer music as entertainment, an escape from reality as it were. Some gravitate toward artists whose politics appeal to them. Whatever. To each their own. I not judging anyone.
To say his songwriting is akin to Kristofferson is a big statement. Not certain I agree with that. But he is still young in career so who knows.
October 16, 2017 @ 3:37 pm
I think his voice sounds better live than on his records, for whatever that’s worth to you. Has to put a little more oomph into it or something. I love all his records, but the only song I can think of right now that I like the recorded version better than the live versions I’ve heard is “Never Gonna Change.” Plus the 400 Unit is superb and really adds a lot to most of his material. What I’m saying is, if you haven’t already, find a couple good quality live videos of songs you think are good better ones on YouTube with a decent set of speakers or headphones.
Dude really, really needs to put out a 35 song live record like the Truckers did recently.
Cool Lester Smooth
October 16, 2017 @ 6:29 pm
Have you heard “Live from Alabama”?
It has the best versions of all his pre-Southeastern songs.
October 16, 2017 @ 10:40 pm
Yeah, streamed it a ton on Spotify and bought the vinyl a few months back. It’s kinda weird because it was in between Browan Lollar and Sadler Vaden, so JI had to do all the guitar, IIRC. I also have the ACL live DVD that I pop in from time to time. I agree that the versions on “Live” are better than the record versions, which is why I really want another big live record released to cover the new stuff, too.
I mean, Springsteen has like every concert he ever played recorded somehow. Isbell can give us one or two, right?
October 17, 2017 @ 6:11 pm
I feel this way too, and it’s not just his voice that I like better live but the arrangements of the songs are so much more interesting to me. I barely listen to the album version of Cover Me Up but a live version that I ripped from YT is one of my most played songs of his.
October 17, 2017 @ 7:58 pm
Completely agree. It almost makes the records a bit boring, which is a shame. I understand him going with the minimalist route on Southeastern, as it was a lot of his personal story mixed in and confronting the darker side of things he did before he got sober. But the live versions lately just blow them out of the water, musically. Like, I watched the live stream from the Ryman on Friday night and actually clapped in my living room after “Different Days.” It’s just so much better live with the full band.
We used a YouTube rip of “Cover Me Up” from the 2014 Americana Music Festival as our first dance song, and I’m with you that I hardly ever listen to the album version. The way they play it now is so much better. And this is, again, why I am clamoring for a big ass live record release.
Cool Lester Smooth
October 18, 2017 @ 11:03 pm
I actually think that Southeastern comes a lot closer to capturing what he sounds like live than The Nashville Sound or (especially) SMTF.
But yeah, Isbell sounds better and better and better over the course of a show, as his voice wears down.
October 17, 2017 @ 12:58 am
Corncaster, to each his own. As for myself, if I had Jason’s voice, and he had a feather up his ass, we’d both be tickled.
October 17, 2017 @ 7:26 am
Jason Isbell makes excellent coffee shop music. His voice turns me off. So dark-sided at times. I either want to slit my wrists in the bathroom or hold hands with someone. I’m not quite sure how he got thrown into the country category. More like sad folk music. I tried liking him but I need something more gritty. I just can’t play this on the jukebox at the saloon.
October 17, 2017 @ 7:32 am
I agree. Is life that bad?
October 17, 2017 @ 6:20 pm
It is for the moral busybodies (Jason) that C.S. Lewis warned us about.
October 17, 2017 @ 8:04 pm
It also is for the internet trolls that Abraham Lincoln warned us about.
October 17, 2017 @ 8:36 am
If you can’t play Decoration Day at the saloon, you’re actually at the salon.
October 18, 2017 @ 12:18 pm
I don’t even know who the fuck that is.
October 18, 2017 @ 8:04 pm
If only there were some method of finding out all the information you didn’t know, this dilemma could have been avoided.
I didn’t include quotation marks, so maybe that threw you off. It’s an early Isbell song, and if you can’t play that at the “saloon,” well, you can go back and read my previous comment.
October 19, 2017 @ 8:02 am
I’ve played enough of his music to make up mind. I’m sorry, he sounds like a bitch and I don’t like his music. It’s not country music. It’s folk. It’s the type of music that plays at Starbucks. I know it’s hard to accept that. I tried looking up Decoration Day on spotify and all I got was a Drive-by-truckers album and I got confused. What can I say, I’m just not a great google searcher like you. You’re the best.
I’ve ridden to plenty of biker/country-bars/saloons all over the southwest and hate to break to you but that shit has never played. Now you play Waylon, Ted Nugent, Stevie Ray Vaughan, or Whitey Morgan & 78’s and you’ll get the guys bobbing their heads to the music at those places. Anyone who actually goes to watering holes know this.
I think you are getting the saloon confused with your mothers basement where you still live. Enjoy your frappuccino.
October 19, 2017 @ 5:11 pm
You sound a little defensive. You don’t have to prove to me how manly you are. I don’t give a shit what you do with your life or how tough you think you are. Listen to whatever you want.
Isbell started out in the Truckers, though, in case you couldn’t figure that out because you were having so much man time at the watering hole.
October 20, 2017 @ 11:20 am
What’s that, toxic masculinity? I’m insecure of my manliness? Wow, you got me!
Yea you know I really don’t care if Jason Isbell started out with the ‘Truckers’ or an all goth garage band or he grew up with prostitutes. He sounds terrible and it’s not country music.
Hey so does your mother still bring you your dinner to the basement?
October 20, 2017 @ 4:07 pm
No, I said I don’t care how manly you are, so no need to try to prove it to me. You can be as secure in your manhood as you want; I don’t give a shit about it. Read it twice next time and maybe you’ll understand.
I’d agree with you that he’s not country music, though he’s clearly influenced by it to some degree and has some songs that sound a hell of a lot more country than a lot of what you get on the radio these days. He’s also got some that are more southern rock, some folk, some Americana, or whatever else you feel like calling it to sound tough on the internet.
Sweet burn, bro. Might have been funny in 1998. I hear 10 year olds talking better shit at school every day. Jesus, man.
Cool Lester Smooth
October 18, 2017 @ 11:11 pm
Anyone complaining about the “type” of music Isbell makes hasn’t listened to much of him.
Any of his DBT stuff (OUTFIT!), Alabama Pines, Tour of Duty, Super 8, Flying Over Water, 24 Frames and Palmetto Rose are all country songs built for jamming on a jukebox.
He also plays rock and roll. And he also makes goddamn amazing coffee shop music.
October 19, 2017 @ 8:08 am
One thing I will credit him (Jason Isbell) with is that he does write some powerful lyrics but it just the way he sounds I can’t get pass.
October 19, 2017 @ 5:16 pm
Yep. It’s no skin off my ass if someone doesn’t like the guy. I think they’re missing out, but whatever. No big deal, I’m sure there’s guys I’m missing out on, too.
But if you’re gonna classify him solely as “pussy coffee shop shit,” you’re talking out of your uninformed ass. Which we all do sometimes, but lately it seems a lot more socially acceptable to double down on bullshit, and is a hell of a lot easier to do that than really research/learn/analyze and maybe realize you were wrong, so that’s what most people do.
October 17, 2017 @ 10:52 am
Exactly.Sad folk music is spot on.
Bill in Wisconsin
October 19, 2017 @ 5:33 pm
It is just too sleepy for me, from a guy who listened to Enya this morning at work for wake up music. So many other artists I have picked up from this site that I would rather listen to.
October 16, 2017 @ 1:53 pm
I don’t mind politics in music unless it’s stupid. Politics is about dividing people by wedge issues in order to get votes. Screedy lyrics are never poetic, never rise above the literal, and weaken the music.
October 16, 2017 @ 2:06 pm
Caught him on the Saturday right up front. Blew me away. Loved his DBT material wasnt super sold on his solo stuff but after that show I get it. What a band.
October 16, 2017 @ 6:14 pm
Politically I’m to the right of Reagan but I love Jason, his band, his songs, his family, his singing, definitely his guitar playing and mostly how he is sticking a big ole finger in the face of music row. I’m not going to let his political opinions get in the way of that
October 16, 2017 @ 7:25 pm
Maybe I’m just numb to the overheated atmosphere since 11/9/16, but I think he says what he thinks in a pretty reasonable, moderate way and leaves it at that. I follow him on Twitter and he drops an occasional political bon mot, but mostly he’s making, or retweeting, goofy jokes, promoting his, Amanda’s and other bands’ shows and giving us a rare glimpse of his home life. He seems like a pretty cool, grounded guy.
Life got in the way and we had to unload our tickets to Friday’s show, so of course he plays Songs She Sang in the Shower, the song we’ve most wanted to hear after seeing him several times. At least we got to see it on our big screen, piped through our Bluetooth speaker. He’s neck and neck with the Turnpike Troubadours and The Band of Heathens for my favorite artists right now.
October 17, 2017 @ 11:45 am
I guess Eminem was busy.
October 17, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
In a just world, that’d leave a mark.