The current King of Americana Jason Isbell just wrapped up a three-night residency in Austin, TX at the city’s stately Bass Concert Hall August 24th, 25th, and 26th, playing to capacity crowds, with local band Marie/Lepanto opening the first two nights, and John Moreland on the third. You would think this would be enough music and performances for both Austin, TX and Jason Isbell to get their fill, but apparently that wasn’t the case.
After Saturday night’s show at Bass Hall, Jason Isbell headed down to the much smaller, but very legendary Continental Club on South Congress in Austin to play a surprise sit-in set for folks lucky enough to experience it. The Continental Club is where locals and out-of-towners alike can stop in and see world-renown artists like Dale Watson, James McMurtry, Heybale, and Redd Volkaert play on a regular basis. It’s one of the last true Austin, TX musical landmarks that hasn’t succumb to the wrecking ball.
Local all-star band The Booze Weasels were holding forth Saturday night when Jason Isbell breezed in with guitar in hand. Known best as Joe Ely’s backing band, The Booze Weasels are made up of guitar players David Grissom and David Holt, bass player Jimmy Pettit, and drummer Davis McLarty. Isbell played the entire 90-minute, 2nd half set with the Booze Weasels as lucky bastards who either strolled in from Congress Ave. or perhaps caught wind of the show witnessed a Grammy Award-winning musician ply his craft for the intimate audience.
This isn’t the first time Jason Isbell has surprised folks by showing up at a club unexpected. After the 2016 Americana Music Awards in Nashville where Isbell won two of the night’s top prizes, he slid across the alleyway from the Ryman Auditorium to Robert’s Western World to sing Merle Haggard covers with wife Amanda Shires. Isbell has also popped into the Continental Club before. In 2011 (when Isbell was not nearly as well-known, or sober), he joined Slobberbone on stage at the Continental to sing a version of The Replacements’ “Can’t Hardly Wait.”
According to Jason Isbell’s manager Traci Thomas, Jason Isbell just loves to sit in and play guitar, so his moment with The Booze Weasels “made his day.”