Jason Isbell Reveals What His Parents Were Better At Than Him At His Age

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music

A lot of people look up to their parents, especially as children. Jason Isbell is no different. The country singer revealed he isn’t quite ready to fill their shoes just yet.

Isbell responded to a tweet asking, “Are you doing better than your parents did at your age?” The singer admitted, despite his fame, he hasn’t surpassed his parents in some aspects.

On Twitter, he wrote, “Not at being a bad–s, that’s for sure.”

Jason Isbell’s Parents Had Him When They Were Teenagers

Isbell was born to Mike Isbell and Angela Hill Barnett on Feb. 1, 1979. Both of his parents were only teenagers when he was born. His father worked as a house painter and his mother was an interior designer. Isbell grew up in Green Hill, Alabama, located in the Northern part of the state.

He was very much a farm boy. He had cows grazing in his backyard. And he would spend time at his grandparents, who owned chickens, horses, sheep, and various other fowl. For a good portion of his life, Isbell was an only child. And he looked to his parents for an immediate source of family.

Eventually, his parents divorced, and Isbell has half-siblings several years younger than he is. The singer revealed that his parents have been an inspiration for a good number of his songs. He also acquired the same musical tastes from his father, who listened to a mix of Southern Rock and Country.

“My parents are both used to becoming characters in my songs,” Isbell told Play Full. “I know they are by now if they weren’t then. Because when I started writing, I didn’t have any siblings till I was in my teens — I have a half-brother and a half-sister who are in their teens now — so really the only world that I knew was family, and that was the kind of thing that I focused on.”