Alt-country singer-songwriter Jason Isbell is headed to Atlanta for a show at the Fox Theatre. If he has some spare time during his time here, there are a few things on his ATL to-do list.
“I’m a big Six Flags guy,” he said. “I also want to check out that new place, Ponce City Market. My friend Sean Brock has a place there (Minero).”
And pizza might be on the menu, too.
“I usually go to Antico and meet (AJC Braves reporter) David O’Brien,” Isbell said. The Alabama native who performed with Athens-based Drive-By Truckers for years has been keeping up with the team’s newest name, Marietta’s Dansby Swanson.
“He’s done good. He’s fast. He plays hard. He’s got nice hair,” Isbell said of the photogenic Swanson, called up from the minors last month. “I think he should do just fine.”
Isbell performs at 8 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Fox Theatre (660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta). Tickets start at $39.50, plus fees. See foxtheatre.org.
“I’ve had a lot to write about the last few years,” said Isbell, who is married to fellow musician Amanda Shires and will be traveling to Atlanta with their 1-year-old daughter, Mercy. “I really consider my work to be documents. The work is always going to reflect what’s going on in my life.”
Isbell has talked candidly about his past substance abuse and path to sobriety, a triumphant journey reflected in his albums “Southeastern” and “Something More Than Free.”
“People love to have a story they can connect to,” he said. “People love it when you’re redeemed. It’s easier for me to find motivation now. I’m able to sit down and write when I need to rather than wait until when I’m inspired.”
Speaking of inspired, check out “Jason Isbell Releases The Saddest Song Ever” for a laugh. It’s a clip created for “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” that sends up country song chestnuts:
We asked if he might ever consider repurposing it during a live performance, but what works in perpetuity on YouTube is a bit trickier to pull off on stage.
“A lot of the reason it’s funny is the editing,” he said. “What works on TV is hard to pull off live.”
While Isbell’s actual and comical songs have covered frayed relationships, untimely deaths and people down on their luck, he’s not necessarily drawing inspiration from this year’s decidedly weird campaign season.
“From where I’m sitting, it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be,” he said. “People who say our country’s never been at a lower point missed a whole lot of history classes. At one point in this country, we were actually at war with ourselves. More soldiers in the Civil War died from diarrhea than anything else. I can’t think of anything worse. We used to have political candidates dueling, actually shooting pistols at each other.”
That’s how Declaration of Independence signer Button Gwinnett, for whom Gwinnett County is named, died, by the way. (Dueling, not diarrhea.) Google that, too.