Hours before kicking off a two-night residency at the Beacon Theatre yesterday evening, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit headed to the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City, where they recorded a spotless version of “If It Takes a Lifetime” for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
In the video above, Isbell plays an acoustic guitar rather than his usual Duesenberg, backed by stacked harmonies and plenty of country-leaning stomp from the 400 Unit. One of the rootsier tracks on last year’s Something More Than Free, “If It Takes a Lifetime” relies heavily on Isbell’s band, with two particular members — electric guitarist Sadler Vaden, who’s gearing up for a solo release of his own this year, and fiddle player Amanda Shires — representing the rock and country wings of his sound.
Jason Isbell’s winter tour rolls on this weekend, with the band already racking up nearly 30 shows — including international dates and a string of performances on the annual Cayamo Cruise — in 2016 alone. At the Grammy Awards earlier this month, Isbell’s Something More Than Free was named Best Americana Album, while the album track “24 Frames” won Best American Roots Song.