Jason Isbell with black jacket on looking into camera with black backgroung
Jason Isbell
Featured Artist Keynote + Special Performance

Jason Isbell

We are pleased to welcome six-time Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jason Isbell to the 2024 Music Industry Summit! Isbell will give a featured artist keynote during the day programming on Wednesday, April 10. Registration is free but required to attend this keynote, in-person or virtually. Isbell will also perform our Closing Night Concert that evening at Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium. The concert is a ticketed event. Tickets will go on sale Friday, October 20 at 10 a.m. ET.

About Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell is a Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, and guitarist originally from Alabama. His songwriting and musical style are deeply connected to his north Alabama roots, and his carefully crafted lyrics often touch upon his personal life and the lives of the people of the region. Isbell’s musical style has been described as “Americana,” but it combines elements of southern rock, punk rock, country, blues, and folk. A prolific writer and touring artist, Isbell has developed a large national following, and in 2015 his fifth solo album, Something More than Free, simultaneously debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums, Folk Albums, and Country Albums charts. Prior to his successful solo career, Isbell was a member of the southern rock band Drive-By Truckers for six years during which he penned several of the group’s most iconic songs.

Information from Encyclopedia of Alabama

The Latest Album "Weathervanes"

A Jason Isbell record always lands like a decoder ring in the ears and hearts of his audience, a soundtrack to his world and magically to theirs, too. Weathervanes carries the same revelatory power. This is a storyteller at the peak of his craft, observing his fellow wanderers, looking inside and trying to understand, reducing a universe to four minutes. He shrinks life small enough to name the fear and then strip it away, helping his listeners make sense of how two plus two stops equaling four once you reach a certain age -- and carry a certain amount of scars.

“There is something about boundaries on this record,” Isbell says. “As you mature, you still attempt to keep the ability to love somebody fully and completely while you’re growing into an adult and learning how to love yourself.”

Weathervanes is a collection of grown-up songs: Songs about adult love, about change, about the danger of nostalgia and the interrogation of myths, about cruelty and regret and redemption. Life and death songs played for and by grown ass people. Some will make you cry alone in your car and others will make you sing along with thousands of strangers in a big summer pavilion, united in the great miracle of being alive. The record features the rolling thunder of Isbell’s fearsome 400 Unit, who’ve earned a place in the rock ‘n’ roll cosmos alongside the greatest backing ensembles, as powerful and essential to the storytelling as The E Street Band or the Wailers. 

They make a big noise, as Isbell puts it, and he feels so comfortable letting them be a main prism through which much of the world hears his art. He can be private but with them behind him he transforms, and there is a version of himself that can only exist in their presence. When he plays a solo show, he is in charge of the entire complicated juggle. On stage with the 400 Unit, he can be a guitar hero when he wants, and a conductor when he wants, and a smiling fan of the majesty of his bandmates when he wants to hang back and listen to the sound. 

The roots of this record go back into the isolation of the pandemic and to Isbell’s recent time on the set as an actor on Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. There were guitars in his trailer and in his rented house and a lot of time to sit and think. The melancholy yet soaring track “King of Oklahoma” was written there. Isbell also watched the great director work, saw the relationship between a clear vision and its execution, and perhaps most important, saw how even someone as decorated as Scorsese sought out and used his co-workers’ opinions. 

“It definitely helped when I got into the studio,” Isbell says. “I had this reinvigorated sense of collaboration. You can have an idea and you can execute it and not compromise -- and still listen to the other people in the room.” 

  • Register

    Catch Jason Isbell's featured artist keynote where he'll discuss his storied career. Registration for the Summit is open to anyone (students and professionals) for no cost. Both in-person and virtual attendance options are available. Please note: Some programming is unavailable for virtual registrants.

  • Jason Isbell Concert

    04.10.24 • 8:00 p.m.
    Memorial Auditorium

    Join us for a special Closing Night Concert with Jason Isbell. This is a ticketed event with tickets a starting at $45. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.; show starts at 8:00 p.m. Tickets go on sale Friday, October 20 at 10 a.m. ET.