Jason Isbell On Honesty In Songwriting, 'Reunions' And Doing Something To Help : World Cafe : World Cafe Words and Music from WXPN Jason is a thoughtful, gifted storyteller and songwriter, and also a caring, engaged thinker, someone who never shies away from speaking his mind. He'll talk about being engaged and will play live versions of songs from his new album with the 400 Unit, Reunions.
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Jason Isbell On World Cafe

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Jason Isbell On Honesty In Songwriting And Doing The Right Thing

Jason Isbell On Honesty In Songwriting And Doing The Right Thing

Jason Isbell On World Cafe

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Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit Alysse Gafjen/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Alysse Gafjen/Courtesy of the artist

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit

Alysse Gafjen/Courtesy of the artist

Set List

  • "Be Afraid"
  • "What've I Done To Help"
  • "St. Peter's Autograph"
  • "Overseas"
  • "It Gets Easier"
  • "Letting You Go"

The day I spoke to Jason Isbell felt like a very strange day to do an interview. It was the first day of June, the Monday after a weekend of powerful protests across the country against police brutality, with a pandemic still going on. When we logged into our video chat, we both said that we'd had a hard time focusing over the last couple days. Everything that was going on was entirely consuming. But truth be told, I was also glad that if I was going to talk to someone that morning, that it could be Jason Isbell.

Jason is a thoughtful, gifted storyteller and songwriter, and also a caring, engaged thinker. He's someone who never shies away from speaking his mind, even when what he thinks doesn't align entirely with the opinions of some of his fans. He's also incredibly open about his own experiences, and today you'll hear that in our conversation as he talks about honesty in songwriting, about the challenges he had while working on his latest album with the 400 Unit, Reunions, and his ongoing journey with sobriety. You'll also hear some live performances recorded before self-isolation, starting with "Be Afraid," which felt particularly appropriate for the moment when we recorded this interview.

Episode Playlist