Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit recruited many special guests to contribute to Georgia Blue, a new covers album due out through Southeastern Records on October 15 with all proceeds benefitting nonprofit organizations Black Voters Matter, Fair Fight and Georgia STAND-UP. All 13 songs on Georgia Blue have ties to the state, including a version of R.E.M.’s “Driver 8” featuring John Paul White released today as a preview of the album.
The genesis of the album dates back to last year’s election day, when Isbell tweeted, “If Biden wins Georgia I’m gonna make a charity covers album of my favorite Georgia songs- REM, Gladys Knight, Vic Chesnutt, Allmans, Cat Power, Precious Bryant, Now It’s Overhead, etc… And damn is that gonna be fun.” Isbell went to work when Joe Biden won the presidency.
Georgia Blue features songs from each of the artists mentioned by Jason in the original tweet and more. White, Julien Baker, Brandi Carlile, Béla Fleck, Steve Gorman, Peter Levin, Amanda Shires, Brittney Spencer, Chris Thile, Sadler Vaden and Adia Victoria each collaborated with Isbell & The 400 Unit for the covers included on the LP.
Read a note from Jason Isbell regarding the new album:
“Georgia Blue is a labor of love. 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 non-profit 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. The songs on this album are some of my favorite Georgia-related songs…We have roots and blues and R&B, so we enlisted some brilliant artists to help us pull off songs by Precious Bryant, James Brown and Gladys Knight. My favorite part of the Georgia Blue recording process was having the opportunity to work with these very special artists, and I thank them: Amanda Shires, Brittney Spencer, Adia Victoria, Brandi Carlile, Julien Baker, Bèla 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. Keep listening to good music and fighting the good fight.”
Hear “Driver 8” from Georgia Blue below:
Georgia Blue Tracklist
- Nightswimming feat. Béla Fleck and Chris Thile (originally performed by R.E.M.)
- Honeysuckle Blue feat. Sadler Vaden (originally performed by Drivin’ N’ Cryin’)
- It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World feat. Brittney Spencer (originally performed by James Brown)
- Cross Bones Style feat. Amanda Shires (originally performed by Cat Power)
- The Truth feat. Adia Victoria (originally performed by Precious Bryant)
- I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (originally performed by Otis Redding)
- Sometimes Salvation feat. Steve Gorman (originally performed by The Black Crowes)
- Kid Fears feat. Julien Baker and Brandi Carlile (originally performed by Indigo Girls)
- Reverse (originally performed by Now It’s Overhead)
- Midnight Train To Georgia feat. Brittney Spencer and John Paul White (originally performed by Gladys Knight & The Pips)
- In Memory of Elizabeth Reed feat. Peter Levin (originally performed by The Allman Brothers Band)
- I’m Through (originally performed by Vic Chesnutt)
- Driver 8 feat. John Paul White (originally performed by R.E.M.)