Jason Isbell on His "Bromance" with Ryan Adams and Powerful Recovery Album, Southeastern
[Laughs] Yeah, we get along real well. When my last record came out, he got a hold of a copy of it, and told me how highly he thought of it. So we did three tours together over the course of about a year and a half. It was great; I set out with him right after I got out of rehab, and it was nice to be on the road with someone who had been through the recovery process.
You know, someone who isn't out raising hell, that helped a lot. He's a creative person, and he's had a lot of success doing things the way he wants to do them. He's always followed his own instincts.
Your recovery has really shaded the perception of this record, I think in a very positive way, but was there any sort of discussion with yourself, any internal monologue, where you tried to figure out how to not direct the listener somewhere they wouldn't naturally go, or, like we talked about, resort to pandering or moralizing?
You know what, that's just my nature. I think if you're writing honestly, and your songs have the same tone as your personality, you're not going to run into those kinds of problems. Really, it's about choosing the right details to put into the songs. If you're going to preach to somebody, if you're going to try and steer them in a direction, you better be pretty damn subtle about it.
People who listen to the kinds of music I make are smart people. They listen to the lyrics; they take them apart. If you tell your story honestly, you're going to come across, too. As long as I try to write for myself in that sense, and try and get myself into the songs, you know, the things I've done to improve my own character will in turn improve the character of the songs. I'm not a preachy person at a dinner party, so I'm not going to be that way on a record.
Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires are scheduled to perform Thursday, September 19, at Crescent Ballroom.
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