Despite the mounting spate of tour and festival cancellations, music fans still have something to look to forward to this spring: new releases. This year has already brought some gems, from Swamp Dogg’s return to Lilly Hiatt’s latest. And we’re looking ahead to plenty more as Jason Isbell shares music from his upcoming new album, Reunions.
Recorded in Nashville with Isbell’s longtime producer Dave Cobb, the album boasts the rock-forward edge that fans have come to expect when Isbell records with his band the 400 Unit, and it finds the songwriter weighing the impact one person can make. As he told G&G in 2017, “I think the more I have gotten to know myself and what it’s going to take for me to be all right in this world, I’m going to have to use the talent that I have to try to make a connection with people and maybe push the world in a tiny, tiny, tiny little bit of a better direction.”
The album’s debut single, “Be Afraid,” called on both artists and listeners to stand up for what they know is right, regardless of the cost (“Be afraid, be very afraid / Do it anyway”), while the follow-up “What’ve I Done to Help” grappled with the guilt of inaction (“World’s on fire, and we just climb higher / to where we’re no longer bothered by the smoke and the sound”). On the latest track, “Only Children,” shared just this morning, Isbell talks to ghosts, employing glittering acoustic guitar and understated harmonies with his wife and bandmate, Amanda Shires, to recount old memories—and ultimately, the loss—of a childhood friend. “Heaven’s wasted on the dead,” he sings. “That’s what your mama said / when the hearse was idling in the parking lot.”
Listen to the song below. Reunions is set for release on May 15, and available for pre-order now.