I fell in love with Jason Isbell’s music on April 24, 2015. He and his wife, Amanda Shires, joined David Letterman during his last month of shows. They were joined by Willie Nelson’s favorite harmonica guy, Mickey Raphael.
They performed “Mutineer” (a song Warren Zevon, one of Letterman’s favorite musicians, wrote and performed himself on the Late Show in 2002). This evening it was just the three of them, all paired down and quiet.
It took my breath away. Gave me goosebumps. I felt all the stuff you experience when you hear something uniquely special. Amanda is a fabulous musician in her own right. I guess I also fell in love with her that night. She was pregnant and glowing. Absolutely beautiful. Their sideways glances melted my heart. Their voices wrap around each others in perfect harmony. David Letterman was noticeably moved by their Zevon tribute. If you want to see for yourself, click here.
Since then, Jason has won a few Grammy’s and other awards. And by now, I’ve seen him half a dozen times, never disappointed. He’s probably the hottest Americana/Alt-Country singer-songwriter-guitarist in the country right now. But don’t take my word for it. Check him out for yourself. How about next week?
Father John Misty, or as his mom calls him, Joshua Tillman, was the headliner at Rock the Garden 2018. We had never seen him live before. Heard a couple songs, didn’t adore them, didn’t loath them. So Josh comes out backed by his band, some woodwinds, amazing strings- and crushes it. Dancing around in a way that only he can. He left nothing behind. I thought he might combust. The heat index was over 100′. (Remind me to tell you about opener Low Cut Connie’s rock fest.) FJM was touring to promote his newly released God’s Favorite Customer. Let’s just say that he packs a much bigger punch live. Wowzah. It’s an album of incredible heartbreak balanced by the excitement of freedom. I’m a convert.
Jade Bird will be opening the evening. Many are expecting her to perhaps eclipse the guys during this mini-festival. She has a hell of a lot of stage presence and musical maturity for a young woman of 21. After seeing her perform for the first time, one of my favorite music photographer/writers, Jim Chapin, said that she has “restored my faith in ‘American’ music.” (Bird is from England, thus the quotes.) At present, I’ve only seen her live on YouTube and I’m already impressed. “Uh-huh” is a present obsession of mine. She’s a perfect cocktail of Americana, rock, and indie-pop. What’s not to like? Go girl!