WTF Podcast

Episode 482 - Jason Isbell

For a young guy, singer-songwriter Jason Isbell has already been down the road and back again. Marc finds out about Jason’s upbringing in rural Alabama, his days as a member of Drive-By Truckers, and how sobriety gave new life to his career. This episode is sponsored by NatureBox and GoToMeeting by Citrix

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  • 26 Comments


Garmon March 26, 2014 at 6:00 am


I had never heard of Jason before, but I have seen the Muscle Shoals documentary so I decided to give this a listen. I had bought the album before the podcast was done. Great interview, great music. Thanks.

Garmon March 26, 2014 at 6:22 am


Also…. I’ve been trying figure out why he looks so familiar.

He looks EXACTLY like a young Orson Welles.

http://www.jasonisbell.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/JasonIsbellBWbyMichaelWilson.jpg

http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/articles/arts/history/2013/10/131028_HIST_OrsonWelles.jpg/_jcr_content/renditions/cq5dam.web.1280.1280.jpeg

Matthew March 26, 2014 at 9:38 am


If I didn’t know better, I’d say Jason was sixty or seventy by the sound of his voice. Guess there’s just a lot of soul in there. Really came out in the song. Good show.

Marvydoo March 26, 2014 at 9:58 am


Wow, a guy with some real history and beautiful music.  It’s weird to see somebody so young with such deep roots in southern rock.  I’d heard of this guy peripherally, but that song convinced me to check him out.  Looking forward to the second part of this story, thoroughly enjoyed the same with Dino Jr—this stuff’s amazing.

Thanks for coming through with an early episode this week.  Much appreciated.

KTrash March 26, 2014 at 10:24 am


The Allman Brothers weren’t Southern Rock and would fit in better in San Francisco? WTF?

Lauren March 26, 2014 at 11:03 am


Pow! I just shit my pants. One of my favorite musicians - Southeastern is an incredible album…I feel like my podcast and music worlds collided.

Thank you for a great interview. Can’t wait for Patterson Hood on Friday.

Wheeler March 26, 2014 at 2:04 pm


Favorite comedian of all time interviewing favorite musician, worlds colliding.  WTF just keeps getting better, looking forward to Patterson on Friday!

jt March 26, 2014 at 7:01 pm


Much respect for Jason.  I felt he put a lot of melancholy into the already heart-breakingly real lyrics of the Truckers.  I love melancholy songs and I’m glad Jason made it out on the other side.  Here’s some of Jason’s sad songs with the Truckers that hit me like a brick:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WGu7dEjPsg&feature=kp

Stuart March 26, 2014 at 11:26 pm


Don’t know enough sad, broken people? Would you like to learn about the seedy underbelly of the American Entertainment industry? Do you like Jews? If so, listen to “WTF” with Marc Maron.

Schmeep March 27, 2014 at 9:09 am


I saw Jason last summer sandwiched between some Rockabilly greats and Nick Lowe (!)  Unfortunately he really didn’t have the chops to keep up with the others, and his songs didn’t hold a candle to the others.  I hope that he can develop into a deeper musician, but he’s certainly not there yet.

David Rosen March 27, 2014 at 1:18 pm


Holy fuck how do I not know his music? I’m a huge Ryan Adams fan so I probably should have found him sooner but now it’s time for me to listen to some music…

philip kobylarz March 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm


jason was my poetry student in memphis 16 years ago. as a chubby, geeky kid, i saw pure genius in his poems, now songs. i have seen him evolve from a goofy kid with a spark of talent into a fine musician. just wait, he’ll always play and he’s the highest caliber performer yet in his heart there lies a fantastic writer. we will all be amazed my his future works; this is just stage 1 of his genius!

Fred Garvin March 27, 2014 at 10:11 pm


I read Schmeep’s comments sandwiched between Stuart and David Rosen (!).  Unfortunately, he really didn’t have the chops to keep up with any of the folks who left comments, and his remarks really made him look like an asshole.  I hope he can develop into an adult, but he’s certainly not there yet. 

Thanks for a great interview, Mark.  Every time I hear the song Elephant, I have to fight back the tears.

Stuart March 28, 2014 at 1:03 am


Finally finished listening to all of your interviews Marc. It took me months. I’m constantly amazed at how entertaining they are despite the fact I know so few of your guests. Not sure why I like the interviews so much, but am always pleasantly surprised at how interesting they are. Jason Isbell was the latest gem on here. Loved your warm tribute to him at the end - he is indeed a pro. The song he played was one of the saddest, heartbreaking pieces of music I have ever heard and I’ll be following his career from now on. He seems like a genuinely lovely person with a good heart and a sack full of talent. I wasn’t going to comment again until I read Schmeep’s comment, which I felt was unfair and way off base. Thanks yet again Marc, for introducing me to another hidden talent on a show that has become a surprisingly big part of my quiet life.

Miika Turtiainen March 28, 2014 at 8:43 am


Damn. I never heard about Jason Isbell before, but I’m listening to Southeastern now. I gotta say I think I like the podcast version of Elephant even better than the one on the album! Marc, have you considered a career as a professional mic stand? You did an awesome job capturing the heartbreak and I can’t believe Jason just pulled that off in a damn hotel room. Great interview.

Stacy March 28, 2014 at 11:47 am


Thank you - not only for the interview, but for introducing me to Jason Isbell’s music.  Southeastern is one of ‘those’ albums, kicks your ass while it breaks your heart. Haven’t stopped listening to it since the podcast.

FrankE March 28, 2014 at 7:05 pm


Thanks Marc, you always continue to amaze.  Boomer lives!3

Donnie March 29, 2014 at 12:10 pm


I find myself listening mostly to Pandora and YouTube over the last few years and before that it was songs from Bearshare and Napster.  When I heard Jason Isbell play Elephant I liked it so much I bought the album and listened to it all the way through.  I started thinking and realized that was probably the first time I have done that for ~15 years.  Then I listened to it 2 more times.  I forgot how enjoyable it was to do that.  It’s an amazing album.

Derek Ray March 30, 2014 at 1:42 am


What a great interview.  Since I have stared listening to your podcast about a year ago, you have introduced me to so many great artists and I thank you for that. I look forward to many more.

bluesfantom March 31, 2014 at 9:35 am


I was introduced to the DBT through the late Johnny Wyker a few years ago.  So, coming around to Jason Isbell was part of the deal.  Love his work.  Saw him with Brandi Carlise and Justin Townes Earle in Spokane.  Went just to see Isbell.  That said, the DBT backed Bettye LaVette on her Scene of the Crime album.  Maybe an interview with Ms B would be in order grin

Mark Duwe April 03, 2014 at 1:55 am


Well done again, Marc. Can’t wait for Lewis Black, though. I needs me some funny

Catch Louis CK on SNL? Gold, solid gold.

Tony April 07, 2014 at 1:06 am


This really hit the spot!  I also bought Southeastern after hearing this interview, and I can’t stop listening to it.  Thanks for bringing this guy’s music into my life, Marc smile

johnnybad82 April 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm


Ive been in love with DBT, Jason, and Patterson for a long time. This was amazing Marc. Youre the best and this was a beautiful moment. Stared out my window during Elephant, smiled and cried at the same time. Thanks man.

Michael Myers April 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm


This interview was great. Thanks so much.

Let me just say that you *really* should work on getting Ryan Adams… Seriously, man. Get Ashes and Fire on vinyl and then get him in your garage. He lives in LA, too.

Ben April 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm


His performance at the end is fantastic. Better than the album version, sounds like his voice is worn out a bit more. Gives it some edge. Good stuff.

Julie June 18, 2014 at 6:27 pm


Great show, great interview by Marc & Jason. Also appreciated the intro, setting the scene.