Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit at World Cafe Live

Words by E Adam Quinn & Photos by Rich McKie


Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are touring currently in support of Live From Alabama, released in November of 2012. Isbell left the Truckers in 2007 and joined forces with his band, The 400 Unit in 2009. Since they’ve put out two studio albums – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unity and Here We Rest – and the recent live recording.

Isbell and the 400 Unit’s setlist for this tour is basically a showcase of Isbell’s tunes, be they from his solo career or from his time with the Truckers. In fact, the tour’s name, Quit Fucking Around And Play Outfit, comes from a crazed fans incessant requests to Isbell during a Truckers’ show to ‘quit fucking around, and play Outfit!’

Isbell style of song strays toward the slow, deep and reflective. He paints a picture of what life is like in Alabama: strong bonds, booze fueled nights, southern pride, isolation, failed relationships and much more. Hearing the live performance makes these songs all the more personal.

Especially when you factor in the musical talents of Isbell and the 400 unit. Drums, keys, bass, violin, guitar and Isbell’s voice combined to be more a story about life in Alabama than a mere rock show.

However, the did end with a bit of irony. Isbell, an Alabama man fronting a band comprised of other southerners did an awesome cover of Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane.” Where’s the irony, you ask? Just recall what Alabama boys Lynard Skynard said in “Sweet Home Alabama:”

“Well, I hope Neil Young will remember, a Southern man don’t need him around anyhow.”

Perhaps that’s a bit nit picky. Either way, Isbell killed the Neil Young cover, which was a strong way to end an even stronger evening of music at World Cafe Live.

Catch Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit on tour and check out Live in Alabama.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit at World Cafe Live Setlist:

“Tour Of Duty”
“Here We Rest”
“Decoration Day” Originally recorded with Drive By Truckers on Decoration Day
“Goddamn Lonely Love” Originally recorded with Truckers on Dirty South
“Heart On A String”
“Daisy Mae”
“In a Razor Town”
“Alabama Pines”
“Dress Blue”
“Never Gone Change” Originally recorded with Truckers on Dirty South
Transitioned into cover of Hendrix’s “Stone Free”
“The Magician”
“Outfit” (tour name) Originally recorded with Truckers on Decoration Day
“Danko/Manuel” Originally recorded with Truckers on Dirty South
Cover of Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane”