Jason Isbell Releases ‘Death Wish’ From New Album
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit have a new album on tap. On Tuesday, Isbell released the song “Death Wish” along with a lyric video as the first taste of the group’s Weathervanes, due out June 9. The album is Isbell’s first collection of original songs since 2020’s Reunions.
“Death Wish” immediately evokes a feeling of urgency with its sweeping guitar arpeggios and Isbell’s tense vocal delivery. “Did you ever love a woman with a death wish?/Something in her eyes like flipping off a light switch,” he sings, recounting a story about trauma and substance use seeping their way into a couple’s relationship. By the end, the song has grown to massive proportions, with swirling strings and multiple tracks of Isbell’s voice giving it a head-spinning effect.
On Monday, the songwriter and his record label, Southeastern Records, released a teaser video for the new album that captured Isbell and his bandmates recording in the studio.
Narrated by ESPN’s Wright Thompson, the two-minute clip promises Isbell’s “latest collection of grown-up songs” would arrive this year. A strip of tape above the recording console reveals titles like “Death Wish,” “White Beretta,” “Volunteer,” and “Cast Iron Skillet,” tracks that Thompson describes as “songs about adult love, about change, about the danger of nostalgia and the interrogation of myths, about cruelty and regret and redemption.” These are, he says, “life and death songs played for and by grown-ass people.”
Isbell is shown playing guitar and interacting with his longtime bandmates in the 400 Unit — drummer Chad Gamble, bassist Jimbo Hart, keyboardist Derry Deborja, guitarist Sadler Vaden, and sometimes member Amanda Shires (Isbell’s wife and the solo artist behind last year’s superb Take It Like a Man). There is one noticeable absence however: It’s Isbell who is seen sitting behind the board, not producer Dave Cobb, who oversaw Isbell’s last four albums of original material. (Isbell himself produced 2020’s Georgia Blue covers project; no word yet on who produced the upcoming LP.)
Isbell and the 400 Unit return to the road on March 1 with a run of shows in Canada and the Pacific Northwest.
Weathervanes is now available for pre-add and pre-order on various music services.
- “Death Wish”
- “King of Oklahoma”
- “Strawberry Woman”
- “Middle of the Morning”
- “Save the World”
- “If You Insist”
- “Cast Iron Skillet”
- “When We Were Close”
- “Vestavia Hills”
- “White Beretta”
- “This Ain’t It”
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