Jason Isbell @ City Winery / Nashville TN / December 28 & 29, 2015

DSCN0704The following was overheard above the cries of a teething infant at the Hermitage, TN household of Mr. and Mrs. J. Isbell:

“Honey, what do you want to do over the Christmas holidays? Why don’t we drive down to Nashville and play a couple of shows together for our friends down there?”

Well, thanks again Jason and Amanda for the same wonderful present you gave us last Christmas: intimate acoustic shows at the City Winery. Hopefully, like your annual Ryman run of shows in October, this will continue as another great Music City tradition.

Last year, the announcement on radio station Lightning 100 of two Jason & Amanda shows at the City Winery brought down the ticket website causing a third night to be added as an apology of sorts to disappointed fans. This year’s notice was low key: a single tweet a few days in advance of the ticket sale from Jason’s label, Southeastern Records, and a City Winery e-mail just moments before the magic 3pm moment. Of course, the precious tickets went fast, but many local folks like myself, with knowledge and help from friends, were even lucky enough to land seats for both nights.

DSCN0681Mrs. Isbell opened up the shows for 45-minutes each night accompanied by Muscle Shoals guitarist Barry Billings. Her two varied sets included several songs from an upcoming new record. Jason joined them each night for their closing two songs, and we all got to laugh at his story about Barry being the first person ever to let him play guitar with a band on stage. The funny part being that the 15-year-old Jason didn’t know how to do anything but play solos!

DSCN0692Accompanied by Amanda, Mr. Isbell then followed with 105 minute-sets each night featuring four unique songs the first night and seven on the second. His entertainingly loquacious mood the first night caused me to send him the following tweet: “Stop doing so many songs—they get in the way of the great stories!” (Maybe he misunderstood my sarcasm since he would up dong two more songs in the same allotted time space the next night!) Indeed, while the music was as lush and eloquent as expected, it was a bonus to be so up close and personal and hear Jason tell a tale for just about every song.

DSCN0653One fine addition this year was the presence of Jason’s two Nashville resident band members: Derry de Borja on a beautiful blue accordion both nights and Sadler Vaden on guitar and backing vocals for the final night. With half of the band in tow, could they be called the 200 Unit?

IMG_0213So thanks again Jason and Amanda for two lovely special evenings. I’ve already marked my calendar for December 2016 at the City Winery!

Photo of Jason & Amanda from 12/28; all others from 12/29.

12/28/15 SETLIST:

  1. Something More Than Free
  2. Different Days
  3. Travelling Alone
  4. Alabama Pines
  5. Outfit
  6. If It Takes a Lifetime
  7. Cover Me Up
  8. Relatively Easy
  9. Speed Trap Town
  10. 24 Frames
  11. Elephant
  12. Stockholm
  13. Decoration Day
  14. New South Wales
  15. Codeine
  16. Children of Children
  17. Flagship


 12/29/15 SETLIST:

  1. Live Oak
  2. 24 Frames
  3. Alabama Pines
  4. Streetlights
  5. Speed Trap Town
  6. Cover Me Up
  7. If It Takes a Lifetime
  8. Something More Than Free
  9. Elephant
  10. Mutineer (Warren Zevon cover)
  11. Tour of Duty
  12. Dress Blues
  13. How to Forget
  14. Different Days
  15. Codeine
  16. Hudson Commodore
  17. Outfit
  18. Traveling Alone
  19. Flagship


Jason Isbell – Vocals and Acoustic Guitars
Amanda Shires – Fiddle and Backing Vocals
Derry de Borja – Accordion (12/28 – 14 & 15, 12/29 – 15, 16 & 17)
Sadler Vaden ­– Guitar and Backing Vocals (12/29 – 15, 16 & 17)

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