Jason Isbell announces promised ‘Georgia Blue’ covers album, shares R.E.M. cover

Isbell's cover of 'Driver 8' features The Civil Wars alum John Paul White

Country singer-songwriter Jason Isbell has announced details of his new record, ‘Georgia Blue’.

The album – marking his eighth overall, including five LPs at the helm of The 400 Unit – is also Isbell’s first covers album. It is dedicated to songs by bands, artists and musicians from the American state of Georgia.

Today (September 16), Isbell has shared the album’s lead single: A cover of ‘Driver 8’, a 1985 single from R.E.M. – who were formed and based out of Athens, Georgia. The cover features guitar and backing vocals from John Paul White, a former member of alt-country duo The Civil Wars.


Listen to Isbell’s version of ‘Driver 8’ below:

In a press statement, Isbell confirmed that the album was a fulfilment of a promise to make a Georgia-themed covers album following the 2020 Presidential Election.

“‘Georgia Blue’ is a labor of love,” he said.

“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.”

True to his word, Isbell will donate the proceeds raised by album sales and streams to three charities: the Black Voters Matter Fund, political action committee Fair Fight and social justice organisation Georgia STAND-UP.


Isbell goes on to note that his motives for making ‘Georgia Blue’ were “a little selfish,” as he had been “looking for an excuse to record these songs.”

“I hope you enjoy listening to these recordings as much as we enjoyed making them,” concluded Isbell. “Keep listening to good music and fighting the good fight.”

Among those joining Isbell as collaborators on the album are his wife Amanda Shires, Julien Baker and country singer Brandi Carlile.

Along with R.E.M., Isbell also covers songs by artists such as James Brown, Cat Power, Gladys Knight and the late Vic Chesnutt.

‘Georgia Blue’ is set for release on October 15 via Isbell’s own imprint, Southeastern.

Jason Isbell’s ‘Georgia Blue’ tracklist is:

  1. ‘Nightswimming’ (featuring Béla Fleck and Chris Thile, originally by R.E.M.)
  2. ‘Honeysuckle Blue’ (featuring Sadler Vaden, originally by Drivin’ N’ Cryin’)
  3. ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s 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 and Brandi Carlile, originally by the 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.)