Hear Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Cover R.E.M.’s ‘Driver 8′
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will release a new album of covers, Georgia Blue, featuring renditions of songs written by Georgian artists covered by the singer-songwriter with guest musicians.
The LP will be available digitally on Oct. 15, followed by a physical format release on Nov. 26, with proceeds from sales going to various Georgian nonprofits, such as Black Voters Matter, Georgia StandUp and Fair Fight. You can hear the first single from the album, a cover of R.E.M.'s "Driver 8," below.
Isbell, an Alabama native, last year promised such an album of covers if the state of Georgia turned blue in the presidential election for the first time since 1992. "If Biden wins Georgia," he tweeted at the time, "I’m gonna make a charity covers album of my favorite Georgia songs — R.E.M., Gladys Knight, Vic Chesnutt, Allmans, Cat Power, Precious Bryant, Now It’s Overhead, etc. ... And damn is that gonna be fun."
Other artists covered by Isbell on Georgia Blue include Otis Redding, the Black Crowes and James Brown. You can see the track listing below.
R.E.M, who were based in Athens like Isbell's 400 Unit, have resonated with Isbell in particular because their music didn't represent what traditionally came from the south. The upcoming album's opening track is another R.E.M. song: "Nightswimming." "R.E.M. had a very specific type of southern-ness that aligns with my own experience in so many ways," Isbell said in 2017. "A 'southern rock' that isn't that at all."
“Georgia Blue is a labor of love," Isbell said in a press release. "On election day 2020, when I saw that there was a good chance the state of Georgia might go blue, I came up with an idea: to record an album of Georgia-related songs as a thank-you to the state and donate the money to a Georgia-based nonprofit organization. I will admit my motivations were a bit selfish. For years, I’ve been looking for an excuse to record these songs with my band and some friends."
Joining Isbell on Georgia Blue are his wife and frequent collaborator, Amanda Shires, Brittney Spencer, Adia Victoria, Brandi Carlile, Julien Baker, Bela Fleck, Chris Thile, Steve Gorman, Peter Levin and John Paul White. "I hope you enjoy listening to these recordings as much as we enjoyed making them," Isbell said. "Keep listening to good music and fighting the good fight.”
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, 'Georgia Blue,' Track Listing
1. “Nightswimming” feat. Bela Fleck and Chris Thile (originally performed by R.E.M.)
2. “Honeysuckle Blue” feat. Sadler Vaden (originally performed by Drivin’ N’ Cryin’)
3. “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” feat. Brittney Spencer (originally performed by
4. “Cross Bones Style” feat. Amanda Shires (originally performed by Cat Power)
5. “The Truth” feat. Adia Victoria (originally performed by Precious Bryant)
6. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (originally performed by Otis Redding)
7. “Sometimes Salvation” feat. Steve Gorman (originally performed by the Black Crowes)
8. “Kid Fears” feat. Julien Baker and Brandi Carlile (originally performed by Indigo Girls)
9. “Reverse” (originally performed by Now It’s Overhead)
10. “Midnight Train To Georgia” feat. Brittney Spencer and John Paul White (originally performed by Gladys Knight & the Pips)
11. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” feat. Peter Levin (originally performed by the Allman
12. “I’m Through” (originally performed by Vic Chesnutt)
13. “Driver 8” feat. John Paul White (originally performed by R.E.M.)