In a 30-minute session broadcast on October 3, the country-rock musician showed off the instrument – named Red Eye – from his rehearsal barn in Nashville, playing a few Led Zeppelin riffs and sharing about how the one-of-a-kind guitar came into his possession.
“In my opinion the greatest sound in the whole world is a child’s laughter, and second to that is a Les Paul through a Marshall [amp] turned all the way up,” Isbell quipped.
Isbell explained that Sharon King, the widow of Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist and bassist Ed King, had brought a number of her late husband’s old guitars into Nashville store Carter Vintage Guitars, a shop Isbell patronises.
Isbell, who had been invited to demo some of King’s guitars, became “obsessed” with the 1959 Gibson Les Paul even before he plugged it in – and played a number of private parties (“weird birthday gigs in the Hamptons and stuff like that”) to save up enough cash to buy it.
“I play it almost every day. It brings me joy,” Isbell said. Watch him demo the guitar and play with his band’s guitarist Sadler Vaden below:
Isbell was one of many musicians who participated in Guitar.com Live this past weekend, a virtual guitar show organised by media brand Guitar.com. Exclusive performances came from Jose Rios and Ron “T.Nava” Avant of Anderson .Paak’s backing band Free Nationals, rising indie artist Holly Humberstone, Norwegian guitarist Tora Dahle Aagård and the roster of Third Man Records.
Other artists such as Carlos Santana, St. Vincent, Dream Theater’s John Petrucci and IDLES’ Lee Kiernan appeared on panels and delivered masterclasses. Revisit Guitar.com Live and its programming here.
[Editor’s note: Guitar.com is owned by BandLab Technologies, which also owns NME.]