Last month, Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell released the single “The Problem” in honor of International Safe Abortion Day. The collaborative single from the singer-songwriter power couple examined the stigmas surrounding reproductive rights, as well as raised money for the Yellowhammer Fund.
On Wednesday, Shires and Isbell went live from their home studio for a special stream promoting the physical release of “The Problem” through Nashville mainstay Grimey’s New & Preloved Music. The 18-minute stream saw the two explore Shires’ catalog of music, while also engaging in their trademark banter. The 7″ vinyl edition of “The Problem” will also feature a b-side of Isbell and Shires with the late John Prine, performing “Unwed Mothers”, and will be available “around December 18th.”
The performance—which consisted entirely of Shires originals—started off with “Break Out The Champagne”. As a husband-and-wife tag team, Shires and Isbell are masterfully in tune to each others’ performance styles and mesh together in ways other musicians could never replicate. In this song, Isbell provides acoustic guitar accompaniment while Shires lays down descending vocal phrases that she later mimics on her fiddle.
After that they slowed things down a bit with “Parking Lot Pirouette”, which saw Shires giving an impassioned performance as she belted out her lyrics. This stream saw fairly toned-down banter, at least compared to the I So Lounging streams. In reality, this is probably what the streams would be like if they cut out most of the chitchat. The result is a mixed bag, however, as the onstage crosstalk is what added to the familiar nature of the stream. At the same time, it’s easier to not sift through 20 minutes of talking to hear four songs.
Next came the song of the hour, “The Problem”. Just as with the digital release, all proceeds from vinyl sales of the single will go to the Yellowhammer Fund. Founded in Alabama in 2017, the Yellowhammer Fund is a reproductive rights organization that focuses on removing stigma and government regulations on safe abortions, especially throughout the South. As Isbell put it, “Buy it, make the world a better place for the ladies.” In honor of the release of “The Problem”, Grimey’s will also unveil a new pink mural on the side of the store highlighted by the song’s refrain of “I’m on your side.”
Finally, “White Feather” wrapped things up on a—comparatively—less somber note. Upon viewing this duet performance, one has to envy their daughter Mercy Rose who gets lulled to sleep by her parents’ voices.
Watch the Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell livestream for Grimey’s in anticipation of the release of “The Problem” on vinyl. Click here to preorder the single.
Amanda Shires, Jason Isbell – Grimey’s From The Barn
[Video: Amanda Shires]