In honor of his former bandmate Patterson Hood’s 56th birthday, Jason Isbell posted a homemade recording of “Heathens,” a fan favorite from his former band Drive-By Truckers’ 2003 album, Decoration Day.
Isbell has long professed his love for the ballad, describing it as a “monster of a song” in his Instagram post and calling it out as one of his all-time favorite Truckers’ track earlier this year.
“I’m not going to say it’s my favorite,” Isbell said in 2011 about the song, both written and sung by Hood. “But it’s the one I wind up singing to myself the most.”
He’s performed “Heathens” with Drive-By Truckers, and with Hood solo, several times in the past, including a memorable 2017 appearance with the band during their tour stop at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. But, as far as we know, Isbell has never sung lead vocals on it before, generally adding guitar and harmonies when performing the song with the Truckers.
Isbell’s new album with his band the 400 Unit, Reunions, is out May 15th. Drive-By Truckers released their latest effort, The Unraveling, in late January.
Hood, meanwhile, is immersing himself in a lot of music while the industry is on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. “I’ve been listening to a little bit of everything, from old favorites to new stuff that has been knocking me out,” he told Rolling Stone. “I’m loving the new Lilly Hiatt and Caroline Rose albums, and the King Krule album Man Alive!, and Gil Scott Heron’s We’re New Again (A Reimagining By Makaya McCraven), which I‘ve been playing every day.”