For Jason Isbell, Braves fandom runs in family

Many Braves followers have been fans of singer-songwriter Jason Isbell’s music for a decade, first during his years as a guitarist with the Drive-By Truckers and then with his own band, the 400 Unit. What some folks might not know is that Isbell, a lifelong Alabaman, is a passionate Braves fan.

imagesWhen not on the road or recording, he’ll drive from his Muscle Shoals home to attend a game at Turner Field, where he might be spotted in the bleachers in a Chipper Jones T-shirt. In the song “Stopping By” off his recent album Here We Rest, Isbell sings, “Driving to a baseball game/on a Friday afternoon/hotter than hell in Atlanta, Georgia…”

I caught up with him recently between shows in St. Louis and Kansas City, during a long tour that’s taken his band across the United States and Europe, and will include stops in Australia and New Zealand in February and March.

O’Brien: Thanks for taking some time to chat in the middle of the tour, Jason.

Isbell: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Dave.

How would you characterize your level of Braves fandom? And as a kid growing up in Greenhill, Ala., outside Muscle Shoals, who was your favorite Brave and your fondest memories of the team?

I played ball growing up, and obviously the Braves are the closest team to us, so it made sense.  Also, being able to watch the games on TBS helped that along.  I didn’t really start out as a Braves guy, though.  When I was between 7 and 9 years old, the youth team I played on was the Dodgers, so I linked up with them.  Even made my parents sit on the visitors side when we caught Atlanta-LA games at Fulton County Stadium.  I passed out waiting on an autograph once — from the heat, of course — and Fernando Valenzuela’s mom (I think) carried me into the stands to locate my folks.

Isbell said Sid Bream's famous slide against the Pirates made the entire Isbell family "jump up and scream."

Sid Bream's 1992 pennant-winning slide against the Pirates made the entire Isbell family "jump up and scream."

What really solidified my love of the Braves was my grandparents’ love of the Braves. Never baseball fans in their earlier years, they learned the game by watching me play in school. And since they were very conservative folks — my granddad was a Pentecostal preacher — baseball was one of the only things we could watch together on TV.  They both watched those games until they died, making up nicknames for all the players and coaches and picking out their favorites.  Watching Sid Bream struggle around third base made our whole family jump up and scream.  My grandmother loved Rafael Belliard because he always had a smile.

I know you’re back on tour, have been for most of this year. When I talked to you at your show at The EARL in Atlanta in April, you asked about the upcoming Braves season, a lot of questions that indicated you were more than a casual fan. Were you able to keep up with the Braves on tour in Europe during the summer?

It was tough to keep up in Europe, but I wasn’t there long.  What really makes me mad is when I’m in the U.S. and I have to watch two other teams because the Braves games aren’t all nationally televised like they used to be!  I was home through a lot of the playoff push — or lack thereof  — so I watched those sad games.

Did you ache along like so many other Braves fans during the September collapse? Did you hurry to check the score of that night’s game after shows?

I was very disappointed, of course, and I was keeping up every night.  I might have even checked a score on my phone while we were onstage. But I shouldn’t reveal that, I guess.

A lot of rock musicians are baseball fans, many of them hardcore fans like Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, Will Johnson of Centro-matic, Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo, Steve Wynn, Mike Mills of R.E.M. Revered Atlanta rockers The Black Lips even led a Tomahawk Chop in tribute to retiring manager Bobby Cox at a Lips show in 2010. Who are some of the others, and do you have any idea what draws indie rockers and other musicians to baseball?

David Barbe, who’s a great producer in Athens and played bass in Sugar with Bob Mould, knows as much about the game as almost anybody.  He even keeps baseball-themed tarot cards in his studio to start off the day.  I know Will Johnson is a big Cardinals guy, so he had a good year.  Kevin Kinney from Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ loves the Braves like I do.  I think the pace of the game, along with the intelligence involved, keeps a lot of us artsy types interested.  Somehow baseball doesn’t seem as “jock” centered as other major sports.

It’s been said that a lot of ballplayers want to be rock stars, and a lot of rock stars would like to be ballplayers. At least for a week or two. Any truth to that?

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

I would love to be able to play just one more game.  I think that’s true for all of us fans of the game who used to play.  I also see big similarities between the life of a traveling ballplayer and a touring musician.  You spend months on the road every year, build relationships with teams or bands that seem like family until you’re traded or dropped, and try to keep the folks back home as happy as possible while you upend their lives by moving around so much.  If I could only run a little faster, maybe pick up some bat speed….

Unlike major league ballplayers, most working musicians aren’t taking charter flights from city to city and staying in the finest hotels. Can you tell us a little about your recent misadventure, where your van was stolen with all of your band’s equipment? Was there a happy ending to that story?

I thought the ending was gonna be a happy one, but alas, it wasn’t.  We had our van and trailer taken in Dallas in broad daylight.  The thieves left the vehicle about a mile away, so we got it back, but the gear was all gone. We were insured, thank God, but it’s still a big hassle and a heartbreaker for us.

You’ve recorded as many albums with your own band now (three) as you recorded with the Drive-By Truckers. I remember seeing you play a solo show at a dive bar in Orlando during Braves spring training in 2007. It was a week or two before it was announced you were leaving DBT, which surprised a whole lot of us. Can you talk about how long it took to get comfortable leading your band and if you’re happy with the direction you’ve taken your music since leaving the Truckers?

I’m very happy with the music I’m making now, and I’m starting to see life on the road get a little easier.  That’s really my only barometer for the amount of

Isbell with his former band, the Drive-By Truckers

Isbell with his former band, the Drive-By Truckers

success we’re having, so it’s nice to know.  It took me a while to get used to singing all night and keeping the audience engaged, but over the last few years it’s gotten much easier.  I’ve learned how to pace myself as a singer and become more comfortable under the lights.

I’ve always heard a Neil Young vibe in many of your songs. But your album this year, Here We Rest, reminds me more of the soul music that Muscle Shoals is known for, and also the storytelling of classic country guys like Haggard. Can you talk a little about who’s influenced your music, and how much you think you’ve changed stylistically in recent years?

I grew up listening to a combination of traditional country and arena rock, with a healthy dose of 80’s mainstream radio thrown in.  My parents loved Merle, Hank, Waylon, Prine, as well as Free and Queen and those big loud bands.  I started focusing on Muscle Shoals recordings as a teenager, when I met David Hood and Spooner Oldham and some of the musicians who worked with them in the area’s heyday.  The older I get, the more that music means to me and the prouder I am that I grew up here.  I don’t really think my musical goals have changed, but the style shifts as my interests do.  Lately I’ve been going back to that storytelling tradition, as well as the R&B groove.  It just feels natural for me.

Coming from such a fertile place for terrific, eclectic music as Muscle Shoals must be as good as it can get for an aspiring musician. How old were you when you began playing music, and when did you realize Muscle Shoals was a special place?

I guess I touched on that in my last answer, but it took me 18 years or so to realize what great music had been recorded here.  I credit that to the fact that the old guys were still out playing in the same bars I started playing as a kid.  They treated me with respect from the start, and those relationships lead me to discover their work in the 60’s and 70’s.

Who are some of the artists you listen to when you’re home or on the road, when you’re just kicking back or driving around Muscle Shoals? Are your tastes as wide-ranging as your music indicates? I hear rock, soul and country in your music, particularly the recent album.

I listen to all kinds of stuff.  I love Centro-matic, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Band of Horses, etc. but I also spend a lot of time on more traditional “songwriter” music like Todd Snider, James McMurtry, Randy Newman, Leonard Cohen.  I also love Atlanta hip-hop, and the great rap that was coming from Houston a few years ago.

You’re still playing places like the 40 Watt in Athens and Showbox in Seattle where you played with the Truckers, but you’re also in some rooms like The EARL, and Antone’s in Austin, The Troubadour in L.A. Even the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur [Calif.], where you had a sold-out show with Ryan Adams. Are the smaller, more intimate places a better fit with the music you play now, to connect with the audience?

I don’t mind the smaller venues, so long as I can hear myself in the monitors. But since the bulk of my income comes from touring, it’s important to gradually move into larger places. That’s going to be the key to longevity for me.  Theaters sound better, in my opinion, and they make for a better experience for people of different ages.

Speaking of Ryan Adams, what’s it been like for you to tour with some of the singers and songwriters you’ve played with in recent months. Ryan, Justin Townes Earle, James McMurtry, John Prine — I mean, dude, it doesn’t get much better.

Isbell said playing with the likes of John Prine (right) on his current tour has been "a blessing." (photo by Riverfront Times)

Isbell said playing with the likes of John Prine (right) on his current tour has been "a blessing." (photo by Roy Kasten/Riverfront Times)

I’ve had an amazing year on the road.  To be able to listen to Ryan or Justin or James or Prine every night was a real blessing, and they’re all good people.  Seriously.  Not a bad egg in the bunch.

I just want to ask you about a few songs from Here We Rest. First, what was the inspiration for “Save it for Sunday,” which seems sort of like a document for the difficult times that a lot of folks are in these days?

When I wrote “Save It For Sunday,” I was thinking a lot about how many people are having the same troubles these days.  I know every generation says the world is going to hell, but I truly believe we’re in tough times right now.  It can be harder to find sympathy in a bar now, since the guy next to you just lost his job, the guy next to him has cancer, and the girl on the corner is going through another divorce.

“Tour of Duty” is the third song you’ve written about war, or rather the folks who fight and the price some have paid. [“Dress Blues” and “Soldiers Get Strange” were the others, from previous albums with the 400 Unit.] What draws you to those stories? What motivates you to tell them in a personal way, to get beyond the obvious, easy stuff, the jingoism that many others — particularly some country acts — put into songs?

I try very hard to write what I know, and I’m familiar with the effect war can have on a small town, whether it’s a soldier coming home and trying to adjust or one who never comes home at all.  I also have a hard time loving something without examining it.  I think it’s great to live in America, but it’s our job as Americans to examine and re-examine how we treat each other and the rest of the world.  All the things we do as a country aren’t perfect, and I’d have a tough time sleeping if I ignored that fact when I write a song. I seriously don’t think we need more rallying cries right now. We should be looking more closely than that.

“Codeine” has a jaunty vibe but is actually quite a dark song lyrically. So many couplets in that song, beginning with the opening:   “There’s one thing I can’t stand, is this bar and this cover band / Trying to fake their way through Castles Made of Sand.” And this: “There’s one thing I can’t take, it’s the sound that a woman makes / About 5 seconds after her heart begins to break.”

The subject is dark and the song  so listenable. How’d you come up with that one?

“Codeine” came from a tough night alone. Big surprise, I know. I wrote it in about the time it took to actually write it down.  I like to say our band has fun playing very sad songs, and I think the differences in tone between the melody and the lyric in this song gives a good example of that.

Isbell and Ryan Adams did a recent West Coast tour including a show at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur.

Isbell and Ryan Adams did a recent West Coast tour including a show at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur.

Here We Rest is showing up on some best-of-the-year albums lists; I saw it at No. 12 on the American Songwriter list, sandwiched between albums by Tom Waits and Lucinda Williams. I know you told me before that you don’t care much about those lists and awards, that kind of thing. But it’s still got to be cool being between Waits and Lucinda on a list, huh?

Sure it was.  Waits’ new record amazes me, and Lucinda’s is very strong, even for her.  Just to see my name between those two was exciting.

How much longer does this leg of the tour go, and will that be it for a while? When will you and the fellas in 400 Unit get back in the studio for another album?

Tour is winding down for the winter, but we’ll be back at it pretty early next year.  I’m writing a lot these days, so I imagine another record isn’t too far off.  No timeline yet, but probably a few months.

You mentioned doing some recording last weekend with your girlfriend and Todd Snider. Can you tell us anything about that project?

Todd’s making a great new record, and Amanda Shires is playing fiddle and singing on it. I initially dropped by the studio in Nashville to hang out with her and I got wrangled into playing some.  Todd didn’t have to twist my arm too hard, though.  I love his songs and this is a particularly good batch.

You’ve lived your whole live in Alabama around Muscle Shoals, never moved away to one of the coasts or even to Nashville or Athens, Ga. What keeps you home?

I stay here because my family’s here.If I did move, it wouldn’t be too far. I have a 15 year-old brother and a 12 year-old sister. As a matter of fact, my little sister’s in ‘The Nutcracker’ tonight and it starts in an hour, so I need to get ready for that.

Thanks again for giving us some of your time, Jason. Been a pleasure.

Thanks, Dave.  Have a good one.

♣ “Decoration Day” was among the signature tunes Isbell wrote for Drive-By Truckers. Click here to see him do it with the 400 Unit at the Orange Peel in Asheville, N.C. Watch him shred on guitar mid-song. Here’s the link if you want to put it in your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBw66wIepiE&feature=related Also,  you can follow Isbell on Twitter at @JasonIsbell. He’s something of a serial tweeter, (very) candid, and interacts a lot with fans.

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

“DECORATION DAY” by Jason Isbell

It’s Decoration Day.
And I’ve a mind to roll a stone on his grave.
But what would he say.
“Keeping me down, boy, won’t keep me away”.

It’s Decoration Day.
And I knew the Hill Boys would put us away,
but my Daddy wasn’t afraid.
He said “We’ll fight till the last Lawson’s last living day”

I never knew how it all got started
a problem with Holland before we were born
and I don’t know the name of that boy we tied down
and beat till he just couldn’t walk anymore.
But I know the caliber in Daddy’s chest
and I know what Holland Hill drives.
The state let him go, but I guess it was best
cause nobody needs all us Lawsons alive.

Daddy said one of the boys had come by
the lumber man’s favorite son.
He said, “Beat him real good but don’t dare let him die
and if you see Holland Hill run.
Now I said, “they ain’t give us trouble no more
that we ain’t brought down on ourselves”
But a chain on my back and my ear to the floor
and I’ll send all the Hill Boys to hell.

It’s Decoration Day
and I’ve got a family in Mobile Bay
and they’ve never seen my Daddy’s grave.
But that don’t bother me, it ain’t marked anyway.
Cause I got dead brothers in Lauderdale South
and I got dead brothers in east Tennessee.
My Daddy got shot right in front of his house
he had noone to fall on but me.

It’s Decoration Day
and I’ve got a mind to go spit on his grave.
If I was a Hill, I’d have put him away
and I’d fight till the last Lawson’s last living day.
I’d fight till the last Lawson’s last living day.
I’d fight till the last Lawson’s last living day.

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

121 comments Add your comment

Around The Horn

December 15th, 2011
2:38 am

Interesting!

Mike S

December 15th, 2011
3:07 am

Wow, that’s a pretty cool interview DOB. Reason #5938 why you’ve got the best blog/twitter out there. I especially liked his take on living in America. Sounds like a smart dude.

Thanks again!

Thrashers fan

December 15th, 2011
3:07 am

I love DBT. I had no idea he had his own band now. I’m going to go check them out!

Thrashers fan

December 15th, 2011
3:09 am

Oh and….another great article, DOB. I LOVE the mixture of Braves baseball and music!

RHR

December 15th, 2011
3:50 am

Sin-I-Cull

December 15th, 2011
5:37 am

Dave, you need to catch Yarn @ Smith’s Olde Bar, check them out, mighty fine!!!!

home & home

December 15th, 2011
5:44 am

“Here We Rest” may be #12 on the list you cited DOB but it’s my top 2-3 for the year. I like Jason’s work with the 400 Unit much better than the DBT.

Rob1855

December 15th, 2011
7:15 am

Thanks, Dave. Isbell’s always worth the time.

James Horne

December 15th, 2011
7:21 am

Nice post, Dave. I wondered when you’d get around to it.

Huddie Ledbetter

December 15th, 2011
8:08 am

Great stuff DOB.

dap01

December 15th, 2011
8:14 am

Tree huggin' peace lovin' pot smokin' porn watchin' lazy ass hippie

December 15th, 2011
8:27 am

Thanks DOB. Don’t know if you follow Isbell on twitter but it’s a full time job. Dude tweets constantly. I happened upon him when he found his van stolen. One of his first tweets was something like “answers to stupid damn van but don’t try to pet her”. Sad but entertaining.

GangstaBilly

December 15th, 2011
8:27 am

Dave – awesome work…I assume this was done before the announcement that Shonna left DBT? Jason had some strange Twitter posts recently – curious if there’s any connection.

Great work as always.

chuck

December 15th, 2011
8:33 am

Been to see Jason a number of times here in the DC area, and it’s better each time….

In addition to Decoration Day, there is a favorite of mine with the Truckers called Outfit…anybody who loves a good daddy tune, that’s a great song.

Losing Jason has made my about 50% the DBT fan i was before, but this 400 unit project has some serious weight to it….

One of his songs also made a Sons of Anarchy montage….good year for Jason.

chuck

December 15th, 2011
8:34 am

Now, go talk to the boys for me, DOB….since they’re going on hiatus.

Jay

December 15th, 2011
8:40 am

Fantastic interview!

David O'Brien

December 15th, 2011
9:27 am

Much thanks for the nice comments on Isbell interview. He carried it — the guy is really sharp, really honest and interesting.

Sharkfinhat

December 15th, 2011
9:28 am

Really enjoyed this. Love that he and Amanda are on the new Todd Snider record, really hoping they’ll all end up touring together.

GangstaBilly

December 15th, 2011
9:29 am

at least we get some solo Cooley to fill the void for a while

dap01

December 15th, 2011
9:30 am

Any Braves news today?

TennesseePaul

December 15th, 2011
9:31 am

Thanks for the work DOB. So, was this your favorite blog ever?

TS

December 15th, 2011
9:40 am

DBT never been as good since Isbell left.

sleeze

December 15th, 2011
9:46 am

This was nice. So.. when do we go back to actually talking about baseball and who the Braves are going to add to the roster?

Bill

December 15th, 2011
10:31 am

Great stuff DOB….Rumor Ronny Cedeno is on Braves radar. Could be another Rafael Belliard. My Dad loved Rafael also. Keep us informed.
I just spent the last hour listen-in to Jason “Here We Rest” and Railbenders “The Outlaw Way”.
Have a great day.

Sir Stealth

December 15th, 2011
10:44 am

Great interview, DOB. Must’ve been fun to get to mix in a little music journalism with the offseason rumor mill.

BravesFanSince1982

December 15th, 2011
10:46 am

DOB, I’m really confused about the direction the Braves are taking. Do they want to contend for a championship in 2012, or are they just trying to build for the future? It seems like they have some $ to spend on upgrading the roster, but each day goes by and all we hear about are the Ronny Cedeno’s of the baseball world. If the Braves go into 2012 still lacking a legit power hitting LF and/or a decent SS, then to this fan of 30 years, it sends the message that competing for a championship in 2012 is not the primary goal. I know Frank is trying to be cautious, but this offseason’s been so dead, I’m not even sure if the guy still has a pulse.

David O'Brien

December 15th, 2011
10:54 am

DOB, I’m really confused about the direction the Braves are taking. Do they want to contend for a championship in 2012, or are they just trying to build for the future? It seems like they have some $ to spend on upgrading the roster, but each day goes by and all we hear about are the Ronny Cedeno’s of the baseball world. — BravesFanSince1982

It’s still too early to panic, BravesFan. Plenty of time to make moves before spring training, not to mention before Opening Day.

No, they are not approaching this as a rebuilding year. At all.

BravesFanSince1982

December 15th, 2011
11:13 am

Not really panicking. And I understand that Wren has to work under the constraints of the current ownership. I guess I just miss the days of Ted Turner and the 90’s where the Braves year-to-year would simply reload and would always seem to have a championship caliber team. I truly believe this team is on the cusp of that, but they are not quite there yet. There are still a couple of missing pieces and as each day goes by and other teams gobble up the best options, it is a little cause for concern.

hmmmmmmmm

December 15th, 2011
11:39 am

The frustration with the Braves isn’t not signing the big guys or trading for Kemp, etc. but instead that we feel like it is always Thanksgiving Day Dinner and we are the last to make a plate and thus get what no one else wants.

Largo

December 15th, 2011
11:44 am

Jason Isbell????????? Who the hell cares. . .unless of course he plays SS or LF.

efuzz

December 15th, 2011
11:46 am

Great piece! I know the “purists” won’t like it, but I’m a fan of Isbell and the temporary diversions you invite us to on your blog, which, to me, comes from it being YOUR blog. You are truly the Renaissance man of AJC bloggers. Thanks

Jon

December 15th, 2011
11:46 am

wait, wait, wait …. Turner Field has bleachers?

“he might be spotted in the bleachers in a Chipper Jones T-shirt.”

Enough with the song lyrics, this isn't Rolling Stone

December 15th, 2011
12:26 pm

…but I do think an article like this is an appropritae way for you to balance your obvious passion for music with your Braves coverage. Well done. (I still don’t see the need for the song lyrics after each post but…I’ll let that go since it’s the Christmas season.) I know Mike Mills of REM has appeared in Braves’ commercials in the past…any interivews with him on the horizon?

mountain_jim

December 15th, 2011
12:27 pm

I don’t always read the pages and pages of comments, but I always read your blog entries David. Great Braves and great music coverage all in one package!

CandyO

December 15th, 2011
12:28 pm

Great interview. I was lucky enough to catch one of the Ryan Adams/Jason Isbell shows while on a business trip out west. That was almost too much talent for one building to hold.
As a corollary to the musician/baseball connection you note, I’ve noticed that lots of baseball writers are fellow music geeks. I have picked up some good leads from you and Peter Gammons over the years.

Wharaway

December 15th, 2011
12:29 pm

Nice job David. Now if we can get Braves PR to book him for an aftergame concert…..

David O'Brien

December 15th, 2011
12:43 pm

Candy O, thanks. And where did you see Isbell and Ryan Adams out west? Jason said he loved doing those shows, said Adams was terrific.

son's who?

December 15th, 2011
12:51 pm

“When I was between 7 and 9 years old, the youth team I played on was the Dodgers, so I linked up with them. Even made my parents sit on the visitors side when we caught Atlanta-LA games at Fulton County Stadium. I passed out waiting on an autograph once — from the heat, of course — and Fernando Valenzuela’s mom (I think) carried me into the stands to locate my folks.”

A simple, yet terrific, story.

Ken Stallings

December 15th, 2011
1:36 pm

Dave,

I get the distinct impression that if you weren’t writing the column for the Braves, you’d love to be a music critic and writer!

dap01

December 15th, 2011
1:47 pm

Any Braves news on the Baltimore trade issue?

Scott

December 15th, 2011
1:55 pm

Great interview, and thanks for including “Decoration Day”. I go back and forth between that one and “Outfit” as my favorite Isbell-era DBT song.

Bill

December 15th, 2011
1:56 pm

Its a done deal with Josh Willingham going to Twins.
Punto going to Red Sox.
All Quiet on Atlanta front…….

BravesFanSince1982

December 15th, 2011
2:07 pm

Not true, Bill. We ARE linked to Ronny Cedeno.

Larry30

December 15th, 2011
2:38 pm

Might be a great article, but this is the kind of news a braves fan gets. Maybe wren can sign isbell to do a concert after one the games. It might be the best contract he negotiates this off season.

StingerSplash

December 15th, 2011
2:52 pm

Saw the DBTs close a show in Charleston one night with a 15-minute version of Decoration Day, with Isbell standing atop an amp, playing his Gretsch guitar off the edge of the drop ceiling.
Saw the DBTs a couple of months ago in Savannah. They do nada off that album and only played for about an hour and there was no beer sold at Trustees Theatre (thank God The Jayhawks played in Atlanta at the Buckhead Theatre) But they did do a rousing rendition of People Who Died at the end.

flange1

December 15th, 2011
2:52 pm

Great read DOB!

Jason is a heck of a talent and I still can’t get enough of his newest album. Can’t wait to see him again and to get some new music from him ad the band!

Curt

December 15th, 2011
3:37 pm

Great article, thank you Dave. Jason’s a poet, “I try hard to write
About what I know.” he gets it- and is very gifted. Not surprising he loves baseball – I love the line about the iPhone scores during a show!

D Fence

December 15th, 2011
3:51 pm

Nice work Dave. Isbell is a great musician and singer, and his latest albumn as you mentioned is beautifully written. While I still love the DBT’s, this guy is a piece that is sorely missed.

Another DBT Isbell beauty is “Outfit”…Dont call whatch a wearin an outfit, dont ever say you car is broke, dont worry about losin your accent, a southern man tells better jokes”…

kudzu

December 15th, 2011
4:05 pm

Dave, thanks for the article. You also need to check out Corey Crowder@ Smith’s Olde Bar.

AGTFan53

December 15th, 2011
4:10 pm

This was a great interview. It’s great to this kind of perspective. Of course, I’m really embarassed to admit that Jason played here in Bloomington, IL in a small converted theatre last year. The show was barely promoted at all. I glanced at the theatre’s website and noticed, but didn’t really know who Jason Isbell and the 400 is. I normally go and check out bands I haven’t heard of, but I had something else to do that night and missed it. Nowhere, did anyone mention the DBT connection. I feel like an idiot. My loss!

As far being disappointed by the Braves lack of moves, I’m not. I think we can be competitive next year just as we are. I also think some kind of move is going to happen that will make Braves fans happier. Don’t know why, just a feeling.

Bill

December 15th, 2011
4:33 pm

Ok 1982..I’ll take your word for it.

Stanley

December 15th, 2011
4:45 pm

Before she left me, my wife’s boyfriend, after he went on viagra, then got one of those penile implants… I never had a chance.

Mark in WR

December 15th, 2011
5:06 pm

Dave, great interview. I really enjoy your unique blend of good music and baseball. I have been a fan of Jason’s for years and he really outdid himself with his latest album, Hear We Rest.

“The AC hasn’t worked in twenty years, it probably never made a single person cold. I can’t say the same for me, I’ve done it many times”.

Pure brilliance.

Mark in WR

December 15th, 2011
5:07 pm

Here We Rest, sorry.

CSL

December 15th, 2011
5:27 pm

Thanks David! Excellent interview with one of my favorite musicians.

Ronald Millsaps

December 15th, 2011
5:57 pm

So, the Braves didn’t offer contracts to Peter Moylan or to Brooks Conrad, huh? Well, they’re 0-2 on 12/15/11, and with the way management has overused the bullpen in recent years, you’d think they’d want to keep a guy whose delivery is conducive to pitching multiple innings. He hasn’t been as impressive as he was in 2007, when he was extremely tough, but he’s a real asset, and Conrad’s bat needs to be kept, especially since he is reliable in the clutch.

Notice the pop-up ad with “buy now” at the “X” spot? Sniveling, sorry marketing technique, and yes, a lot of marketing itself is manipulation, or at least the attempt thereof.

Someone tell Michelle Obama that truth isn’t up to the individual.

rico43

December 15th, 2011
6:16 pm

Nice surprise interview. Discovered Truckers when Isbell-era band played Riverbend. No question those 3 albums (plus outtakes CD!) are DBT at its creative peak. Isbell’s solo albums have had 2-3 superlative songs, making me think it’s a shame those 2-3 were not replacing 2-3 Shonna Tucker filler songs. Ah, well. David Barbe is an upgrade, but I miss three singer/songwriter DBT lineup.

rico43

December 15th, 2011
6:18 pm

Oh! Baseball? Every move so far has made sense, but Braves are so boringly STABLE right now! At this point, just waiting to hear if Jamie Dismuke has been rehired in Gwinnett.

unbelievable

December 15th, 2011
6:36 pm

The Cedeno interest is baffling. He cant hit and his glove is hit or miss. He had a strong year defensively last year, but his defensive stats from 2005-2010 were pretty ugly across the board.

Bill

December 15th, 2011
7:30 pm

Don’t kill me but how would Coco Crisp do in LF? He has lifetime BA 275- LT 330 obp- 8 hrs last years but 49 sb’s..Bourn and CC stealing would be exciting…..for one year. Ok now shoot!

OklahomaBrave

December 15th, 2011
8:44 pm

This blog is the reason I bought my first dbt album “southern rock opera.” One of the greatest albums of all time! I’ve since bought all of their albums including isbells and p hoods. While Oklahoma red dirt with the great divide or ccr ( cross Canadian ragweed) is good music it lacks the soul of southern music. Thanks dob for the introduction!

ray

December 15th, 2011
9:06 pm

thanks for a very interesting and well-written blog. I don’t know the band and I still enjoyed the interview. an excellent piece of journalism.

PS no reflection on Dave, but this also shows how little Braves news he has to write about.
the MO remains: anyone earning over the major league minimum is too expensive.

David O'Brien

December 15th, 2011
9:25 pm

Ray: Thanks, I appreciate that.

OklahomaBrave: You’re more than welcome. I’m just glad to have steered you in the direction of Southern Rock Opera. Cool to hear you became such a big fan of DBT and the solo stuff by Jason and Patterson.

boots

December 15th, 2011
11:33 pm

Great write, Dave. Jason is one of the best guitarist around, and I’ve missed him at the Truckers shows. I still consider him part of the Athen’s music scene even though he never had as much as a PO Box there. I once sat next to Mike Mills for an 18-inning Braves game. My girlfriend’s accounting teacher took his summer class. For the 14th inning stretch, the stadium played “Stand.” A bunch of people around us danced with this song, not realizing who Mike was. Pretty funny.

McCann Fan

December 16th, 2011
7:23 am

Great blog DOB! I love gaining insight into a favorite musician. We love DBT and solo Isbell and catch both most every time they are within a couple hours of ATL. (Can’t wait for Sat Jan 14th at the 40 Watt!!!) Hood, Cooley, and Isbell have to be 3 of the best songwriters of my generation.

I wanted to second the notion of a couple earlier posters in saying that “Outfit” is clearly one of my top 5 DBT songs. It doesn’t get any better than my favorite line,
“Well I used to go out in a Mustang,
A 302 Mach 1 in Green,
Me and your mama made you in the back
And I sold it to buy her a ring”

Also everyone if you don’t own it or haven’t seen it, please check out DBT’s documentary “The Secret to a Happy Ending” playing this month on the Documentary Channel. It’s awesome. Thanks again Dave. You are the best

john

December 16th, 2011
8:30 am

GREAT article Dave !! I met him at a show. Super nice guy

Grand Slammer

December 16th, 2011
8:46 am

Never heard a song by the Drive By Truckers before. I like alternative rock.

Maybe the Braves will make a trade to solidify LF & SS. Need to be strong 1 thru 9 to compete with Philly & Fla.

Grand Slammer

December 16th, 2011
8:47 am

My wife likes Michael Buble & Celine Deion music. Sadly.

Grand Slammer

December 16th, 2011
8:49 am

Dave, I’d be curious to know that if playing the guitar came naturally to Dave or did he just work really hard at practicing before harnessing it ? Some people play “by ear” and some take lessons for life.

Grand Slammer

December 16th, 2011
8:50 am

I meant Jason not Dave.

Buford Pusser

December 16th, 2011
8:57 am

Jason Isbell is a whole better without DBT than DBT is without him!

Musica

December 16th, 2011
8:57 am

McCann Fan : “Well I used to go out in a Mustang,
A 302 Mach 1 in Green,
Me and your mama made you in the back
And I sold it to buy her a ring”

I could come up with this jargon in 1 minute.

“Me and your mom rode fast and long
We were listening to our favorite songs
That Mach 1 Mustang’s motor was strong
To get from Georgia to L.A. didn’t take long”

Musica

December 16th, 2011
9:00 am

McCann Fan : “(Can’t wait for Sat Jan 14th at the 40 Watt!!!) Hood, Cooley, and Isbell have to be 3 of the best songwriters of my generation.”

Best song writers of our generation ? Are you on drugs ?

Buford Pusser

December 16th, 2011
9:02 am

Youtube: Isbell singing Alabama Pines by himself at a radio statio. Wow.

Listen: DBT’s new album Gogo Boots. AWFUL.

Musica

December 16th, 2011
9:03 am

Ever heard of Prince ? The guy that has written about 25 # 1 hits that he sung and about 15 more # 1’s that other artists sung ? Ever heard of Eric Clapton ? Those 3 guys you listed wouldn’t make the top 100 best song writers of our generation.

Buford Pusser

December 16th, 2011
9:06 am

PRINCE!?!?!?!?!?

Gtfoh

Musica

December 16th, 2011
9:08 am

Here’s a link to the list of 200 ranked best song writers in rock.

http://www.digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/best_songwriters.html

Musica

December 16th, 2011
9:11 am

Here’s a link to the list of songs written by Prince that other artists sung.

http://prince.org/msg/7/239543

Musica

December 16th, 2011
9:12 am

Oh I forgot we were just allowed to like Hicksville type music here…

Buford Pusser

December 16th, 2011
9:17 am

OK, you do realize we are are about to be in the year 2012, right?

Jay Z? NWA? LL Cool J? Come on, get real.

Buford Pusser

December 16th, 2011
9:20 am

Oh yeah, Isbell can’t compeat with “Nasty Girl” or “The Sex of It” by Prince. Both your lists are full of popcrap BS.

Prince. Funny.

David O'Brien

December 16th, 2011
9:40 am

dp: Yes, I do think Braves and Orioles have continued their discussions. So far no leaks from either side as to whom is targeted from O’s. We’ve all been speculating on that part….

McCann Fan: There are so many great, economical lines in “Outfit.” Isbell wasted not a word in that gem…

Musica

December 16th, 2011
10:03 am

I figured our generation was longer than 2012. Like from the 1960’s to 2012 ? Prince is R&B by the way. The statement was on of best 3 song writers of our generation not musical taste or local favorites.

Buford Pusser

December 16th, 2011
10:19 am

Exactly. Three greatest song writers of our generation and you offered Prince, then you offered a list, which was heavy with artists from the 50’s and 60’s as evidence. Not a single listing past the 90’s.

Bottom line is this: 1. This is an article about Isbell. 2. The commenters are generally Isbell Fans. 3. You decide to butt in and run the man down.

So, we will agree to disagree. You keep rockin that Prince (lol) and I will keep believing that Isbell is one of the greatest CURRENT song writers and music artists around, but when the AJC has an article about Prince, you won’t see me logging in to post about how much better Jason Isbell is. And he is.

Chuck

December 16th, 2011
10:33 am

Hey DOB, I have been waiting nearly a year for the top 100 of 2011. You have steered me to into some great stuff over the past several years – Jamey Johnson, DBT, new classics by some of the classic artists. I think it might be okay to give yourself a pass on the “CD” requirement this time. Thanks for the great Braves and music stuff!!

bravesfaninNashville

December 16th, 2011
10:35 am

It’s not very exciting to be a Braves fan right now. Feels like we’re in the desert after totally blowing the Wild Card and then having our best move of the offseason so far to be dumping Derek Lowe to Cleveland while eating $10 Million of his salary. I sure hope the front office has some things in the slow cooker that are going to taste really good when they’re done because this offseason has been one of the worst I can remember in 20 years. I hope the O’s and Braves are truly working on a blockbuster . Who knows maybe theres even a third team involved to complete someone’s wish list for the deal..

David O'Brien

December 16th, 2011
11:06 am

Chuck, the top 50 — I’ve never done 100 — will be in next main blog, no later than Monday.

dap01

December 16th, 2011
11:52 am

Any baseball news today?

Bill

December 16th, 2011
11:56 am

Cuddyer to Rockies for 3 years…

jordan

December 16th, 2011
2:58 pm

Wow. An interview with some groovy musician who happens to like the Braves. Thanks for wasting my time, DOB.

Bill

December 16th, 2011
3:31 pm

Jordon, nothing on Braves front to report. Feel free to make up some crap.

David O'Brien

December 16th, 2011
3:50 pm

Wow. An interview with some groovy musician who happens to like the Braves. Thanks for wasting my time, DOB. — jordan

You’re more than welcome. And sorry about that disorder that forces you to read everything in its entirety, whether you’re interested or not. That’s rough.

Nick

December 16th, 2011
4:19 pm

I love DBT and it was fun to read about the cross-pollination between sports and music. I love Decoration Day and also the song “Cottonseed”, both tell powerful stories.

NC

December 16th, 2011
4:59 pm

Nice interview. Would love to see the DBTs and Isbell do a tour together someday. Decoration Day is one of the best rock albums of all time. Hated to see them split, but got two great bands now. Kind of like when Uncle Tupelo broke up.

As far as the Braves go, I know you would normally not make a move just to make a move, but in this case I think you almost have to. The way the season ended had to leave a pretty bad mental scare on the team (I know it did for me as a fan). I think a move of some merit would help get the bad taste of last season out of the organization’s mouth. If we start the season with the same team as last year it may be hard to get out of the rut we got stuck in last year. I’m sure they will do something before the season starts.

Appreciate this blog…makes the work day bearable.

Sammy

December 16th, 2011
7:05 pm

Wow! Don’t know what’s worse. The Braves or this blog.

J-MAN

December 16th, 2011
7:25 pm

Sarcasm is running amuck tonight

J-MAN

December 16th, 2011
7:30 pm

@ Sammy I think the Braves are far worse than this blog. At least D.O.B. is putting forth an effort with an interview wiht a musician. I mean the Braves haven’t gave him anything to write about since blowing that 10.5 game lead. Kudos D.O.B. for trying to make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t. I really give you credit for tryiung to make interesting colulms when the team has done nothing to give you to write about.

WE WANT THE TRUTH!!!!!!!

J-MAN

December 16th, 2011
7:37 pm

I can’t spell tonight dang 16 hour shifts

the truth...

December 16th, 2011
9:15 pm

If this Isbel dude can hit with power or play SS then I’m interested….otherwise I guess I’ll leave this one up to DOB and the boys to chew on.

BravesfaninWis

December 16th, 2011
11:07 pm

Another day passed, and another day without hearing a damn thing about the Braves. I don’t get this team one bit. They act like they were a great team last season that won it all and doesn’t need to do anything to their roster. Sure glad that I didn’t spend the money on this team again this year, I can watch them lose on free highlights.

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