Jason Isbell Says 2020 Has Reminded Him of the Reason He ‘Started Making Music in the First Place’

by Emily Morgan

Jason Isbell has a knack for finding silver linings. In a recent interview, the folk-rock singer revealed a key takeaway he had for this year: music. 

There’s no doubt about it, 2020 sucks. Between an ongoing pandemic that’s taken millions of lives to a tumultuous election cycle, we’ve had better years in America. Despite all this, the power of music has been a “port in a storm” for many of us. 

During a Rolling Stone interview, Barry Gibbs and Jason Isbell sat down to discuss their new collaboration, “Words of a Fool.” The legendary musicians also got candid when they opened up about how their lives have been altered since the pandemic. 

Besides Netflix binging, tweeting, and spending time with his family, Isbell eventually found a way to put a positive spin on the overwhelmingly disastrous event. 

“It’s been reminding me more of the reason I started making music in the first place.”

This reminder is evident not only in his words but also in his recent music. This year, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit released a new album, Reunions. 

Jason Isbell & Barry Gibbs Team up Together

In addition, former Bee Gees legend Barry Gibb and the Alabama native recorded one of Gibb’s unreleased solo tracks from 1986, “Words of a Fool.” Gibb will feature the song on his upcoming album Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook, Vol. 1. The album drops next month. Besides Isbell, the record features collaborations from Dolly Parton, Brandi Carlile, Alison Krauss, and more.

It may seem like an odd pair, but the disco legend says he has always been an old country music fan. “After the Bee Gees no longer existed, I drifted into my own bliss, which is this kind of music,” Gibbs said in an interview. 

It seems the two musicians have been fans of one another long before the partnership. Discussing their duet, Isbell revealed he was anxious leading up to the recording. 

“I was nervous, Barry,” Isbell said. “I think you got your star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame just a couple months after I was born. So I’ve known about your music my whole life.”