Jason Isbell performs behind a desk at NPR

-Lucy Shanker, Roots N Blues Intern

I almost got run over by a bike last Monday, but it was for good reason. Early that morning, NPR released their newest Tiny Desk Concert with Jason Isbell. So of course as I walked to my 8 a.m. class, my eyes were glued to the minuscule screen of my phone as Jason Isbell’s anything but minuscule sound projected out of my headphones. If you even mildly keep up with these blog posts, they almost always include a link to a Tiny Desk. And if a blog post doesn’t include a Tiny Desk, there is a strong chance it is about Jason Isbell. So basically, this was huge for me.

While the set only contains three songs, the full video ends up being a full twenty minutes of restarting songs, sarcastic banter and even a guest appearance from someone in the audience. The three songs, “Chaos and Clothes,” “Molotov” and “Last of My Kind,” are all from Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s latest album The Nashville Sound.

Isbell is arguably one of the most relateable artists. Sure, he’s a 38-year-old man from Alabama, and I’m a 19-year-old girl from Chicago, but still. He has a way of making people feel both comfortable and astounded by his talent. Or at least, that’s how it seems from the countless YouTube videos I’ve watched of his. His interviews are defined by a juxtaposition of respect and genuinely — he’s both unapologetically himself and massively talented. And the interviewers know this.

He’s also just a nice guy. Isbell says to the audience, “Anyone know how to play the guitar?” When someone volunteers, he brings the guy on “stage” to play alongside him. Isbell then describes how eager he was when he was young for someone to give him a chance, so he was going to do that now. Needless to say, It’s pretty difficult to dislike Jason Isbell after watching this video.

See for yourself here, and come see his incredible wife, Amanda Shires, at Roots N Blues this year.

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