Jason Isbell showing up on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert was bound to be good, but few fans could’ve expected it to rock this hard. Fresh off the release of his new album, The Nashville Sound, on June 16th, the Alabama native and his band the 400 Unit unleashed a fiery rendition of that album’s lead single, “Hope the High Road” at Ed Sullivan Theater on Tuesday night.
For anyone who hasn’t had the privilege of catching one of the three dates that kicked off Isbell’s new leg of tour dates over the weekend, his The Late Show performance bodes well. “Hope the High Road” bottles up much of the politically-charged fury that courses through The Nashville Sound, but while the record gives equal billing to the 400 Unit, last night’s performance was truly a showcase for Isbell. Biting off his words and virtually spitting them back out, the singer-songwriter ripped off a snarling slide guitar solo that said as much or more than the lyrics’ take-the-high-road credo.
There ought to be much more where that came from in the coming months. With the Dave Cobb-produced The Nashville Sound – the highly anticipated follow-up to 2015’s acclaimed Something More Than Free – coming out, Isbell and the 400 Unit will be on the road for theater, amphitheater, and festival dates until their sold-out residency at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium in October. They’ll be sticking around New York City the rest of this week, with a three-night stand at the Beacon Theatre kicking off tomorrow, June 22nd.