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Jason Isbell to Sing R.E.M., Otis Redding on ‘Georgia Blue’ Covers Album

Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone

Jason Isbell vowed to record an album of songs by artists from Georgia if the state went to Joe Biden in the 2020 election. He’s proven to be a man of his word: Georgia Blue will be released digitally October 15th — vinyl and CD versions will be out November 26th — and includes guest appearances by Brittney Spencer, Brandi Carlile , and Steve Gorman.

Georgia Blue kicks off with a cover of R.E.M.’s “Nightswimming” featuring Béla Fleck and Chris Thile and includes versions of songs by Peach State greats like James Brown (“It’s a Man’s World,” featuring Brittney Spencer), Indigo Girls (“Kid Fears,” featuring Julien Baker and Brandi Carlile), and Cat Power (“Cross Bones Style,” featuring Amanda Shires ). Steve Gorman appears on an update of his old band the Black Crowes’ “Sometimes Salvation,” and 400 Unit guitarist Sadler Vaden guests on Drivin N’ Cryin’s “Honeysuckle Blue.” The first preview of the album is a cover of R.E.M.’s “Driver 8” featuring John Paul White.

“It was so much fun and it didn’t take us very long to do, and it was really nice to go into the studio and not have the pressure of bringing in a bunch of new songs, because I already know all these songs are great,” Isbell told Rolling Stone in August. “And, you know, I got to sing my favorite Vic Chesnutt song and Amanda got to sing Cat Power.”

Proceeds from sales of Georgia Blue will benefit Black Voters Matter, Fair Fight, and Georgia Stand-Up. This fall, Isbell and his band the 400 Unit have dates scheduled at New York’s Rooftop at Pier 17, Atlanta’s Tabernacle, and an eight-night run at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. All events will require either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test from within three days.

Georgia Blue track listing:

  1. “Nightswimming” featuring Béla Fleck, Chris Thile [originally by R.E.M.]
  2. “Honeysuckle Blue” featuring Sadler Vaden [originally by Drivin N’ Cryin]
  3. “It’s a Man’s World” featuring Brittney Spencer [originally by James Brown]
  4. “Cross Bones Style” featuring Amanda Shires [originally by Cat Power]
  5. “The Truth” featuring Adia Victoria [originally by Precious Bryant]
  6. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” [originally by Otis Redding ]
  7. “Sometimes Salvation” featuring Steve Gorman [originally by the Black Crowes]
  8. “Kid Fears” featuring Julien Baker, Brandi Carlile [originally by Indigo Girls]
  9. “Reverse” [originally by Now It’s Overhead]
  10. “Midnight Train to Georgia” featuring Brittney Spencer, John Paul White [originally by Gladys Knight & the Pips
  11. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” featuring Peter Levin [originally by the Allman Brothers Band]
  12. “I’m Through” [originally by Vic Chesnutt]
  13. “Driver 8” featuring John Paul White [originally by R.E.M.]

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