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.