AN APPALACHIAN SUMMER FESTIVAL
Music - Dance - Theatre - Visual Arts - Film
An Appalachian Summer Festival 2020 Replaces Live Events with Online Programming. Read the full statement >
What happens after an artist has achieved his dreams? That was the major question Jason Isbell was asking himself leading up to the creation of his newest album, Reunions, recorded with the 400 Unit and produced by celebrated producer Dave Cobb. After all, four-time Grammy winner Isbell is at the top of his game. He is widely acclaimed as one of our best songwriters and possesses a devoted audience who has pushed his last two albums to the tops of the charts.
“Success is a very nice problem to have but I think ‘how do I get through it and not lose what made me good in the first place?’” he says. “A lot of these songs and the overall concept of this album is ‘how do I progress as an artist and a human being and still keep that same hunger that I had when I wasn’t quite so far along in either respect?’” Isbell’s solution: to go back in time with his hard-gained knowledge.
The result is a seamless collection of 10 new songs that delve into relationships with lovers, friends, children, parents, and one’s self. There are rousing anthems that will have stadiums singing along, lyrical standouts that highlight some of Isbell’s best writing to date, moving looks at youth and childhood, a deep dive into the challenges of relationships, and deeply personal songs about alcoholism and parenthood. All of them offer us an artist at the height of his powers and a band fully charged with creativity and confidence.
Why the title Reunions?
There are a lot of ghosts on this album. Sometimes the songs are about the ghosts of people who aren’t around anymore, but they’re also about who I used to be, the ghost of myself. While writing I was thinking about how I could take the tools I have now, which are much better than the tools I had then, and go about building the same essential structure. I found myself writing songs that I wanted to write fifteen years ago but, in those days, I hadn’t written enough songs to know how to do it yet. I was also still drinking and I didn’t have enough focus. Just now have I been able to pull it off to my own satisfaction. In that sense it’s a reunion with the me I was back then.