With all eyes on Georgia in the days after the 2020 presidential election, singer-songwriter Jason Isbell made a promise: “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,” he tweeted at the time. Joe Biden did, shockingly, become the first Democratic candidate to win Georgia in nearly 30 years, so Isbell got to work — and now the resulting album, Georgia Blue, is out next month, on October 15.
The album features covers of all those promised artists (including two R.E.M. cuts), along with songs by James Brown, Otis Redding, the Indigo Girls, and more. And Isbell did so with the help of some friends, from Julien Baker and Brandi Carlile (who, in an exceptionally queer turn of events, guests on Indigo Girls’ “Kid Fears”) to his own wife Amanda Shires (featured on Cat Power’s “Cross Bones Style”), to his band the 400 Unit, who backed him on the album. And he’ll be donating all proceeds to Black Voters Matter, Fair Fight, and Georgia STAND-UP.
“I will admit my motivations were a bit selfish,” Isbell, himself an Alabamian, said in a statement on the album. “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.” Today’s announcement comes alongside Isbell’s cover of “Driver 8” by R.E.M., featuring John Paul White, formerly of Americana duo the Civil Wars. “Keep listening to good music and fighting the good fight,” Isbell added. Find the full track list below.
1. “Nightswimming” (R.E.M.) feat. Béla Fleck and Chris Thile
2. “Honeysuckle Blue” (Drivin’ N’ Cryin’) feat. Sadler Vaden
3. “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” (James Brown) feat. Brittney Spencer
4. “Cross Bones Style” (Cat Power) feat. Amanda Shires
5. “The Truth” (Precious Bryant) feat. Adia Victoria
6. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (Otis Redding)
7. “Sometimes Salvation” (The Black Crowes) feat. Steve Gorman
8. “Kid Fears” (Indigo Girls) feat. Julien Baker and Brandi Carlile
9. “Reverse” (Now It’s Overhead)
10. “Midnight Train to Georgia” (Gladys Knight & The Pips) feat. Brittney Spencer and John Paul White
11. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” (The Allman Brothers Band) feat. Peter Levin
12. “I’m Through” (Vic Chesnutt)
13. “Driver 8” (R.E.M.) feat. John Paul White