Due to a schedule change, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit have to postpone their previously announced taping originally slated for June 14th. However, we are pleased to announce that Jason and the band will still be taping the show for our upcoming Season 49 and can confirm a rescheduled taping date of September 18th. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to the new date this fall.
A Jason Isbell record always lands like a decoder ring in the ears and hearts of his audience, a soundtrack to his world and, magically, to theirs, too. Weathervanes, Isbell and his GRAMMY®-winning band the 400 Unit’s eighth album, out June 9, carries the same revelatory power. This is a storyteller at the peak of his craft, observing his fellow wanderers, looking inside and trying to understand, reducing a universe to four minutes. Isbell shrinks life small enough to name the fear and then strip it away, helping his listeners make sense of how two plus two stops equaling four once you reach a certain age—and carry a certain amount of scars. “There is something about boundaries on this record,” Isbell says. “As you mature, you still attempt to keep the ability to love somebody fully and completely while you’re growing into an adult and learning how to love yourself.” Written and produced by Isbell, Weathervanes is a collection of grown-up songs: Songs about adult love, about change, about the danger of nostalgia and the interrogation of myths, about cruelty and regret and redemption. Some will make you cry alone in your car and others will make you sing along with thousands of strangers in a big summer pavilion, united in the great miracle of being alive. The record features the rolling thunder of Isbell’s fearsome 400 Unit, who’ve earned a place in the rock ‘n’ roll cosmos alongside the greatest backing ensembles, as powerful and essential to the storytelling as The E Street Band or the Wailers. They make a big noise, as Isbell puts it, and he feels so comfortable letting them be a main prism through which much of the world hears his art. He can be private but with his mighty band behind him he transforms, and there is a version of himself that can only exist in their presence. The roots of this record go back into the isolation of the pandemic and to Isbell’s recent time on the set as an actor on Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. There were guitars in his trailer and in his rented house and a lot of time to sit and think. The melancholy yet soaring track “King of Oklahoma” was written there. Isbell also watched the great director work, saw the relationship between a clear vision and its execution, and perhaps most important, saw how even someone as decorated as Scorsese sought out and used his co-workers’ opinions. “It definitely helped when I got into the studio,” Isbell says. “I had this reinvigorated sense of collaboration. You can have an idea and you can execute it and not compromise — and still listen to the other people in the room.”
Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes a week in advance of the taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episode will air on PBS this fall as part of our upcoming Season 49.