Jason Isbell Admits He Was ‘So Nervous’ About ‘Words of a Fool’ Duet With Bee Gee’s Barry Gibb

by Atlanta Northcutt
(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Jason Isbell was nervous to take part in a duet with Bee Gees’ legend Barry Gibb for his upcoming album.

Jason Isbell and Barry Gibb

Gibb celebrated the announcement of his January 2021 release date by dropping a soulful duet of “Words of a Fool” between him and Isbell. The original song is off a 1986 self-titled album that was never released.

“I was nervous, Barry,” Isbell says of their duet.

The duo moves back and forth between their vocal stylings with Jason taking the lead. Both musicians come together for the chorus, singing, “No matter how long human nature is cruel,” they sing. “But all hope is gone if you don’t hang on the words of a fool.”

“I’m happy to say he still has that beautiful voice and that magical sense of melody,” Isbell said. “Working with him on this project has been one of the great honors of my career. He’s a prince.”

Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook

Greenfields is the follow-up to Gibbs’ 2016 solo album In the Now and is intertwined with a similar country sound.

“I’ve always been a real freak on old country music,” adds Gibb. “After the Bee Gees no longer existed, I drifted into my own bliss, which is this kind of music.”

The upcoming album features many re-recordings of Bee Gees classics contributed by a group of mainly country musicians, including “Words” with Dolly Parton, “Run to Me” with Brandi Carlile, and “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” with Sheryl Crow.

“My jaw was on the floor,” says Gibb. “You guys didn’t need to do this. The fact that you cared about those songs means everything to me.”

Gibb and the Bee Gees

Gibb and his family immigrated to America from Australia in 1958. With all kinds of American music coming out at the same time, Gibb and his brothers enjoyed listening to country artists who had become rock stars, such as Elvis, George Jones, and Dolly Parton.

“We loved every kind of music, so that’s why there are so many different styles, so many different insights in the songs that we wrote,” says Gibbs. “Not that we knew that then. More than anything, I miss the romanticism. I miss beauty in a song.”

Gibb and the rest of the Bee Gee brothers tackled several genres, created one of the first drum loops and inspired the sounds of countless other bands during their musical careers.

“From the first day we stepped into RCA Studios in Nashville (the very place where Elvis, Willie, Waylon, Roy, the Everly Brothers and so many other legends made their magic) the album took on a life of its own,” Gibb said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to work with Dave and all the artists who stopped by. They were all incredibly generous with their time and talent. They inspired me more than words can express. I feel deep down that Maurice and Robin would have loved this album for different reasons. I wish we could have all been together to do it…but I think we were.”