Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit announce star-studded covers charity album featuring Julien Baker, Chris Thile, John Paul White and more

Jason Isbell performing live
(Image credit: Erika Goldring/FilmMagic)

Jason Isbell, along with his band the 400 Unit, has announced Georgia Blue – a covers album that will see the electric guitar titan team up with a slew of music heavyweights, including Julien Baker, Brandi Carlile, Steve Gorman and more.

Due October 15, the album will also see Isbell enlist the services of Brittney Spencer, Peter Levin, Bèla Fleck, Chris Thile, Amanda Shires, Sadler Vaden, Adia Victoria and John Paul White to complete the record’s star-studded guest list.

Georgie Blue will contain covers of classic Georgia-related tracks, heralding from artists who have ties with the state, such as R.E.M., Drivin’ N Cryin’, James Brown, Cat Power and Precious Bryant.

Other Georgia-linked artists set to be covered include Otis Redding, The Black Crowes, Indigo Girls, Now It’s Overhead, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Allman Brothers Band and Vic Chesnutt.

All proceeds from the upcoming record will be donated to three non-profit organizations: Black Voters Matter, Fair Fight and Georgia STAND-UP.

Georgia Blue album cover

(Image credit: Press)

When released, it will be Isbell’s first studio effort with the 400 Unit – which currently features Derry deBorja, Chad Gamble, Jimbo Hart, Amanda Shires and Sadler Vaden – since 2020’s Reunions.

The album itself was recorded at both Sound Emporium Studios and Blackbird Studio in Nashville, and was helmed by award-winning engineer Gena Johnson.

Georgia Blue is a labor of love,” commented Isbell. “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,” he continued. “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. 

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

(Image credit: Alysse Gafkjen)

“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.”

No doubt the record will feature Jason Isbell’s recently released Fender Road Worn Custom Telecaster, which was based on his own prized single-cut.

“Without a doubt it’s the best rhythm guitar,” Isbell recently told Total Guitar during an appraisal of the Telecaster blueprint. “I think it’s probably the best guitar design overall, ever.”

The tracklist for Georgia Blue can be found below:

  1. Nightswimming (feat. Béla Fleck and Chris Thile) 
  2. Honeysuckle Blue (feat. Sadler Vaden)
  3. It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World (feat. Brittney Spencer)
  4. Cross Bones Style (feat. Amanda Shires) 
  5. The Truth (feat. Adia Victoria)
  6. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
  7. Sometimes Salvation (feat. Steve Gorman)
  8. Kid Fears (feat. Julien Baker and Brandi Carlile)
  9. Reverse 
  10. Midnight Train To Georgia (feat. Brittney Spencer and John Paul White)
  11. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (feat. Peter Levin)
  12. I’m Through
  13. Driver 8 (feat. John Paul White) 

The lead single from the album, a rendition of R.E.M.’s Driver 8 featuring John Paul White, will be released later today (September 15).

  • Georgia Blue is available to preorder now via Southeastern Records.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.