Jason Isbell plays Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain
Fans who attend Jason Isbell’s June 6 debut on the Pisgah Brewing stage will just miss a set saturated with songs from his forthcoming album “Something More Than Free,” but definitely won’t leave empty-handed.
“We’re gradually getting them in the set,” Isbell said of the new material, which gets a July 17 release. “We’re going to go in in June and do some rehearsals, so we’ll be playing them all before the album comes out, but by the time we get to Asheville, it’ll just be one or two.”
Consistent with the Nashville rocker’s illustrious catalog and his own listening habits, these latest songs focus on human relationships and feature plentiful storytelling while reflecting current events that stand out in his daily life.
“The overall tone for working people in our country right now is something that’s been on my mind a lot,” Isbell said.
“I work from a personal place, and I kind of write stories that are small in scope but broad in meaning. So, I don’t attack big issues — I’m not going to write a song about ISIS. I’m going to try and stick to what I know and I do know a lot of people who are working really hard and don’t really seem to be making any headway, so that comes up a lot on the record.”
The album is produced by Dave Cobb, whose balance of brilliant ideas and an easygoing personality while working on Isbell’s 2013 smash “Southeastern” made a second collaboration a no-brainer. As far as their approach in following up their hit however, both parties did their best to ignore their prior albums.
“You just write the best songs you can write and then you go in the studio and you think real hard about, ‘OK, how should this song sound? What does this song want to sound like? Is it a country song? A rock ’n’ roll song? What sort of instrumentation would really bring out the meaning of this song?’ and we went from there,” Isbell said.
“I think it’s a big mistake to pay too much attention to what you’ve done previously while you’re in the studio because you’ll wind up eating your own tail. There’s no way to make everybody happy. You just have to keep on creating.”
Continuing that theme of creation, amidst the current album cycle Isbell and his fiddler/vocalist wife Amanda Shires will welcome their first child.
He plans to spend more time at home and sees the family hanging out with him and the band for a few days here and there while out on tour, but otherwise isn’t sure how fatherhood will affect his music or career.
“We’ll take it as it comes. If I were to make plans right now, that would be nowhere near what would actually wind up happening, in my experience. So, I just try to be prepared if I can,” Isbell said.
400 Units shy
Who: Jason Isbell with Amanda Shires.
When: 7:30 p.m. June 6.
Where: Pisgah Brewing, 150 Eastside Dr., Black Mountain.
Tickets: $30 advance,
$35 day of show.