Midway through a week-long residency at the Ryman Auditorium, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit tackled another song by the late Tom Petty during Wednesday night’s show. The band’s version of “Room at the Top” — a song rarely performed by the Heartbreakers themselves, who released the track on their 1999 album Echo and largely abandoned it after the accompanying tour — was both faithful and bittersweet, anchored by a pitch-perfect guitar solo from Sadler Vaden and vocal harmonies from bandmates Jimbo Hart and Amanda Shires.
For Isbell, headlining a string of hometown shows at the Ryman Auditorium has become something of a tradition, dating back to his multi-gig run in 2013. During this year’s residency, his Tom Petty covers have become a tradition, as well. The band performed a blistering “Refugee” on Monday night and ripped into “You Wreck Me” on Tuesday, paving the way for Wednesday’s take on “Room at the Top.” Last weekend, Isbell performed a solo version of the Damn the Torpedoes track “Even the Losers” at the Mempho Music Festival in Memphis, then kicked off his encore with a full-band version of “American Girl.”
Isbell’s Ryman residency rolls on tomorrow night, with nightly shows scheduled though Sunday, October 15th.