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Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit|Georgia Blue

Georgia Blue

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

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When the state of Georgia flipped from red to blue during the 2020 presidential elections, Jason Isbell (an Alabama native) was moved to show his support by recording an album of his favorite songs by the state's musicians, donating the proceeds to voter-rights and affordable-housing advocacy organizations. It kicks off with R.E.M.'s "Nightswimming," one of the most heart-tugging displays of human emotion and nostalgia ever put to song. Isbell and Co. glorify that, proving themselves true fans. Béla Fleck and Chris Thile join in (on banjo and mandolin respectively) for the string part originally arranged by Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones, and the cover highlights a Michael Stipe quality to Isbell's voice that, once you hear it, you can't unhear it. James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" is reinvented with soul-baring country sensation Brittney Spencer simmering on the lead. She also delivers a classy tribute to Gladys Knight on "Midnight Train to Georgia," with the 400 Unit and John Paul White having a ball doubling as the Pips. Isbell's fiddle-virtuoso bandmate/wife Amanda Shires lends her crystal-clear voice to a muscular, less murky cover of Cat Power's "Cross Bones Style." Sadler Vaden—guitarist for the 400 Unit—steps up for "Honeysuckle Blue" by Drivin N Cryin, a song that highlights the intersection of gospel and Southern rock to chronicle Georgia's beauty (dogwoods, Blue Ridge mountains) and the poverty that runs through the state like a river. Julien Baker and Brandi Carlile team up for the Indigo Girls' "Kid Fears," recreating Amy Ray and Emily Saliers' spooky echo trick on later verses. It looks sketchy on paper: Carlile's powerhouse voice would surely blow down Baker's low-and-tender style—and, to be honest, that happens, especially when Isbell joins in on the guest part originally sung by Stipe. It's a brave move to cover Otis Redding, but Isbell does a knock-out job on "I've Been Loving You Too Long," layering strings in the place of those famous horns. He also pours out his heart and probably damages his throat hollering one of The Black Crowes' best, "Sometimes Salvation." He can't match the chest-beating histrionics of Chris Robinson but, damn, it's still entertaining; and the band, with original Crowes drummer Steve Gorman sitting in, sounds like the real thing, right down to the high-wire guitar solo and those chill-inducing opening starts-and-stops. There's a faithful cover of the Allmans' jazz-meets-jam classic "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" (complete with Gregg Allman keyboardist Peter Levin) and a subdued take on R.E.M.'s "Driver 8." Adia Victoria's languorous tone pours like honey across "The Truth" by blueswoman Precious Bryant. And the band wrings out every drop of resignation from keening liberation anthem "I'm Through" (with its killer line "Forget everything I ever told you/ I'm sure I lied way more than twice/ But understand I am not Emily Post") by the late Vic Chesnutt, the Americana artist who fought through paralysis to play guitar and who always felt like he could not have sprung from anywhere but the particular fantasy-world bubble of Athens, Georgia. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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Georgia Blue

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

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1
Nightswimming (feat. Béla Fleck, Chris Thile)
00:03:59

Bill Berry, Composer - Chris Thile, FeaturedArtist - Mike Mills, Composer - MICHAEL STIPE, Composer - PETER BUCK, Composer - BELA FLECK, FeaturedArtist - Pete Lyman, MasteringEngineer - Jason Isbell, Producer - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, MainArtist - Universal Tunes Obo Night Garden Music (SESAC), MusicPublisher

(C) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

2
Honeysuckle Blue (feat. Sadler Vaden)
00:05:16

Pete Lyman, MasteringEngineer - Jason Isbell, Producer - Sadler Vaden, FeaturedArtist - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, MainArtist - Kevn Gerard Kinney, Composer - Universal Music - Songs Of Polygram International Inc. (BMI), MusicPublisher

(C) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

3
It's a Man's, Man’s, Man’s World (feat. Brittney Spencer)
00:04:31

JAMES BROWN, Composer - Pete Lyman, MasteringEngineer - Betty Jean Newsome, Composer - Jason Isbell, Producer - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, MainArtist - Brittney Spencer, FeaturedArtist - Unichappell Music Inc. on behalf of Dynatone Publishing Company / Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI), MusicPublisher

(C) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

4
Cross Bones Style (feat. Amanda Shires)
00:06:23

Pete Lyman, MasteringEngineer - Jason Isbell, Producer - Amanda Shires, FeaturedArtist - Charlyn Marie Marshall, Composer - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, MainArtist - Hipgnosis International Obo Doorman Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

(C) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

5
The Truth (feat. Adia Victoria)
00:03:32

Pete Lyman, MasteringEngineer - Precious Bryant, Composer - Jason Isbell, Producer - Adia Victoria, FeaturedArtist - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, MainArtist - Fool Me Good Music/Nervous Elf Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

(C) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

6
I've Been Loving You Too Long
00:03:11

Otis Redding, Composer - Jerry Butler, Composer - Pete Lyman, MasteringEngineer - Jason Isbell, Producer - Irving Music (BMI), MusicPublisher - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, MainArtist

(C) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

7
Sometimes Salvation (feat. Steve Gorman)
00:05:01

Pete Lyman, MasteringEngineer - Steve Gorman, FeaturedArtist - Jason Isbell, Producer - Christopher Mark Robinson, Composer - warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI), MusicPublisher - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, MainArtist - Richard S Robinson, Composer

(C) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

8
Kid Fears (feat. Julien Baker, Brandi Carlile)
00:04:10

Brandi Carlile, FeaturedArtist - Pete Lyman, MasteringEngineer - Jason Isbell, Producer - Amy Elizabeth Ray, Composer - Emily Ann Saliers, Composer - Julien Baker, FeaturedArtist - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, MainArtist - Songs of Universal, Inc. obo Godhap Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

(C) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

9
Reverse
00:04:52

Pete Lyman, MasteringEngineer - Jason Isbell, Producer - Andy LeMaster, Composer - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, MainArtist - Duchamp, Inc. obo 200 Milligrams of Music (SESAC), MusicPublisher

(C) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

10
Midnight Train to Georgia (feat. Brittney Spencer, John Paul White)
00:04:50

John Paul White, FeaturedArtist - Pete Lyman, MasteringEngineer - Jason Isbell, Producer - James D Weatherly, Composer - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, MainArtist - Brittney Spencer, FeaturedArtist - Universal Music - Songs Of Polygram International Inc. (BMI) (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

(C) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

11
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (feat. Peter Levin)
00:12:19

Forrest Richard Betts, Composer - Pete Lyman, MasteringEngineer - Peter Levin, FeaturedArtist - Jason Isbell, Producer - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, MainArtist - Unichappell Music, Inc. obo itself and Richard Betts Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

(C) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

12
I'm Through
00:06:12

Vic Chesnutt, Composer - Pete Lyman, MasteringEngineer - Jason Isbell, Producer - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, MainArtist - BMG Bumblebee obo Ghetto Bells Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

(C) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

13
Driver 8 (feat. John Paul White)
00:03:35

Bill Berry, Composer - Mike Mills, Composer - John Paul White, FeaturedArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, Composer - PETER BUCK, Composer - Pete Lyman, MasteringEngineer - Jason Isbell, Producer - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, MainArtist - Universal Tunes Obo Night Garden Music (SESAC), MusicPublisher

(C) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers (P) 2021 Southeastern Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

Album Description

When the state of Georgia flipped from red to blue during the 2020 presidential elections, Jason Isbell (an Alabama native) was moved to show his support by recording an album of his favorite songs by the state's musicians, donating the proceeds to voter-rights and affordable-housing advocacy organizations. It kicks off with R.E.M.'s "Nightswimming," one of the most heart-tugging displays of human emotion and nostalgia ever put to song. Isbell and Co. glorify that, proving themselves true fans. Béla Fleck and Chris Thile join in (on banjo and mandolin respectively) for the string part originally arranged by Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones, and the cover highlights a Michael Stipe quality to Isbell's voice that, once you hear it, you can't unhear it. James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" is reinvented with soul-baring country sensation Brittney Spencer simmering on the lead. She also delivers a classy tribute to Gladys Knight on "Midnight Train to Georgia," with the 400 Unit and John Paul White having a ball doubling as the Pips. Isbell's fiddle-virtuoso bandmate/wife Amanda Shires lends her crystal-clear voice to a muscular, less murky cover of Cat Power's "Cross Bones Style." Sadler Vaden—guitarist for the 400 Unit—steps up for "Honeysuckle Blue" by Drivin N Cryin, a song that highlights the intersection of gospel and Southern rock to chronicle Georgia's beauty (dogwoods, Blue Ridge mountains) and the poverty that runs through the state like a river. Julien Baker and Brandi Carlile team up for the Indigo Girls' "Kid Fears," recreating Amy Ray and Emily Saliers' spooky echo trick on later verses. It looks sketchy on paper: Carlile's powerhouse voice would surely blow down Baker's low-and-tender style—and, to be honest, that happens, especially when Isbell joins in on the guest part originally sung by Stipe. It's a brave move to cover Otis Redding, but Isbell does a knock-out job on "I've Been Loving You Too Long," layering strings in the place of those famous horns. He also pours out his heart and probably damages his throat hollering one of The Black Crowes' best, "Sometimes Salvation." He can't match the chest-beating histrionics of Chris Robinson but, damn, it's still entertaining; and the band, with original Crowes drummer Steve Gorman sitting in, sounds like the real thing, right down to the high-wire guitar solo and those chill-inducing opening starts-and-stops. There's a faithful cover of the Allmans' jazz-meets-jam classic "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" (complete with Gregg Allman keyboardist Peter Levin) and a subdued take on R.E.M.'s "Driver 8." Adia Victoria's languorous tone pours like honey across "The Truth" by blueswoman Precious Bryant. And the band wrings out every drop of resignation from keening liberation anthem "I'm Through" (with its killer line "Forget everything I ever told you/ I'm sure I lied way more than twice/ But understand I am not Emily Post") by the late Vic Chesnutt, the Americana artist who fought through paralysis to play guitar and who always felt like he could not have sprung from anywhere but the particular fantasy-world bubble of Athens, Georgia. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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