WILMINGTON — Formerly of the Drive-By Truckers (DBT), Jason Isbell has toured his way through Wilmington since the Soapbox Laundro-Lounge days (RIP). Next winter, he will be stopping through again at downtown’s Wilson Center with his band, The 400 Unit, in support of their latest release, “Georgia Blue,” as well as 2020’s “Reunions.”
A part of DBT for six years (2001-2007), Isbell embarked on a solo career in 2007. He has taken home numerous awards over the years, including Americana Music Honors (both stateside and in the U.K.), Country Music Hall of Fame, and even a Grammy with his current band, featuring Sadler Vaden, Jimbo Hart, Derry DeBorja, and Chad Gamble.
Isbell announced the making of “Georgia Blue” on the heels of the 2020 presidential election. On election day, he tweeted: “If Biden wins Georgia, I’m gonna make a charity covers album of my favorite Georgia songs.”
Released Oct. 15, 2021, the 13-track album features songs written by R.E.M., Cat Power, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Dickey Betts, Vic Chestnutt, James Brown, Otis Redding, and other artists. It also includes collaborations with Britney Spencer, Brandi Carlile, and Béla Fleck.
Funds from the album are being donated to three charities, including Black Voters Matter Fund, Fair Fight and Georgia STAND-UP.
Isbell has released eight albums to date and five with The 400 Unit; “George Blue” is his first covers album.
The band’s tour kicks off Oct. 20 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and ends in Las Vegas in March, before picking up a few summer 2022 shows and embarking on an international leg next November.
On Jan. 19, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit will play the Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College, with opener Adia Victoria. The artist requires proof of vaccination to attend the show or a negative Covid-19 test. Isbell has been outspoken about his policy since summer –– even before concert giants announced the move to start requiring such. Isbell has run into pushback from other touring artists and fans on social media, and even canceled a show at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, which didn’t put in place a vaccination policy.
Isbell told Vanity Fair in August, “I just don’t think that our business is going to be able to continue this way unless we put some restrictions in place. I know my crew and my band might not be able to withstand another shutdown, and I think a lot of people are in that same situation.”
Tickets to the Wilson Center show start at $59.75 and are open for purchase to the general public on Friday, Oct. 22, 10 a.m.
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