Now more than ever, Jason Isbell is living like he’s a part of a unit. Literally, in the case of his band the 400 Unit, but figuratively as well. Isbell’s new LP The Nashville Sound represents that as well as anything, as his songwriting is filtered through the perspective of a happy husband and first-time father. That perspective may come into the sharpest focus on the touching love song “If We Were Vampires,” which now has its own music video.
The premise of the song is built on a major “if:” “If we were vampires and death was a joke,” Isbell sings, “I wouldn’t feel the need to hold your hand.” But knowing that death isn’t a joke for either of them, and that their lives together won’t last, he holds on dearly while he can. He’s joined by his wife Amanda Shires, who harmonizes with him on the heartbreaking lines, “Maybe we’ll get 40 years together, but one day I’ll be gone, or one day you’ll be gone.” The song has turned into a live duet showcase for the couple, as seen on CBS This Morning.
Staying faithful to the less-is-more simplicity of the song, the animated “If We Were Vampires” video, directed by Joshua Britt and Neilson Hubbard, features cartoon versions of Isbell and Shires’ vampire selves feasting on a heart plucked from the tree of life before hitting the road on a chopper. But even the vampires in the video are susceptible to the ravages of time, represented here by the motorcycle running out of gas – and, as they too return from whence they came, a new tree sprouts in their place.
Isbell and the 400 Unit have been on the road all summer in support of The Nashville Sound, which was released on June 16th and promptly went to Number One on four separate Billboard charts. His next show is August 20th at Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium in Shreveport, Louisiana.