Fresh off a pair of room-silencing performances at last week’s Americana Honors and Awards ceremony, Jason Isbell and Emerging Artist of the Year winner Amanda Shires, this time with the 400 Unit in tow, headed west to play Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday night. Performing “If We Were Vampires,” Isbell and his wife Shires sang the bittersweet tune with knowing glances into each other’s eyes as the band provided a soft, melancholy tribute to the passage of time and the value it gives to love. [Watch the video above, along with an additional web extra of the fiery “Cumberland Gap” below.]
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Playing Tucson, Arizona, tonight with Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Isbell and crew will land back in Nashville on October 9th to play a historic run of six sold-out shows at the Ryman Auditorium, backed by a series of stellar opening acts, including the Secret Sisters, Julien Baker, Lydia Loveless and Shires. Surprisingly, Isbell is also up for a trophy at November’s CMA Awards: he’s nominated for Album of the Year for The Nashville Sound, despite vocally rejecting the pageantry of much of mainstream Music Row.
“I don’t like that kind of music at all,” he told Rolling Stone in June. “Sometimes I’ll hear a song that I really like that’s in that world. I like that song ‘Girl Crush.’ Some of Miranda Lambert’s songs are really well-written. Stapleton’s great. But most of that stuff is just real bad music to me. It also seems like a huge mess. I like Nashville when it’s just regular old Nashville and there’s not a whole lot going on.”