Jason Isbell’s Tiny Desk Concert Will Have You Falling In Love With His Music All Over Again


There is something about live music that communicates better than a record. You can fine tune a sound in the studio, play a chord progression one thousand times until it is perfect, but live you only have one shot. It’s just you and the songs you wrote. Some musicians are studio wizards, making perfect songs but unable to improvise or feel the music onstage. Others, like Jason Isbell, breathe new life into their songs when they are onstage. The words become more real, the imagery more vivid, and the melodies more entrancing. It makes you fall into the songs for the first time all over again.

NPR’s Tiny desk concerts are known for their high quality and intimate staging that force artists sit face to face with their audience. That staging is perfect for country music whose heritage is built on traveling story tellers and family bands on front porches. Isbell’s music weaves stories together that he means to be passed down, particularly in his latest album The Nashville Sound, which wrestles with his place in this world and the new perspective parenthood gives a person.
He also refuses to take himself too seriously. He is as funny as any stand-up comedian and willing to laugh off his own mistakes. It makes for a fun, loose, and poignant show.


“Chaos and Clothes”


“Last of My Kind”


Jason Isbell (vocals, guitar); Sadler Vaden (guitar); Amanda Shires (fiddle, backing vocals); Jimbo Hart (bass); Derry deBorja (keyboards); Chad Gamble (drums); Ashwin Wadekar (guitar on “Last of My Kind”).