Jason Isbell appeared on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah on Thursday night to discuss life in quarantine (he’s been playing guitar five hours a day), the state of the music industry (“It’s going to be bad”), and the gradual re-opening of Tennessee, just a week before the official release of his seventh studio album Reunions.
Isbell also performed “Only Children,” a sparse highlight from the upcoming album, accompanied by his wife Amanda Shires on fiddle.
Appearing from his home outside Nashville, Isbell spoke about the toll the coronavirus pandemic has been having on working musicians whose touring plans have been put on hold indefinitely. “I feel very lucky because I’ve gotten to a point where I’ve gotten a bit of a safety net,” Isbell said. “Had it been 10 years ago when I was still riding around in a van playing for a couple hundred people a night, I would have to start re-thinking career choices and making some hard decisions.”
The singer-songwriter also spoke at length about his theory as to why some Americans across the country have been so eager to return to a sense of normalcy in the midst of the deadly pandemic.
“A lot of people…they see the same things every day: they go to the same jobs, they see the same people,” he explained. “A lot of folks make the mistake of thinking that they have seen this before because they don’t have a lot of experience with something they have never seen before; they’re not in practice of experiencing new things. And that scares me.”
Isbell then talked about the personal toll his family has faced during the pandemic, having lost their close family friend John Prine last month to the virus.
Reunions is available now if purchased through an independent record store, but will be officially released May 15th.