Musical power couple Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires covered each other on their recently-revived live stream series I So Lounging on Friday.
The husband and wife team were also joined by Peter Levin for the second episode of ‘The Second Wave’ of I So Lounging. Beginning on March 20th, Isbell, Shires, and a rotating cast of musicians went live nearly every day for the streaming series, which ran 30 episodes through April 18th. Last week, Isbell, Shires, and Levin launched ‘The Second Wave’ of I So Lounging.
The live stream from the studio adorned with ornate stained glass opens with some blues jamming, featuring Isbell on a Telecaster and Levin behind keys. Just as in the previous installments and waves of I So Lounging, the sessions are punctuated, and sometimes highlighted, by the playful banter between Isbell and Shires. Eventually, however, the trio gets down to business and reveals the format for the performance. The idea, which came from Shires, was that Jason would cover one of her songs, she would cover one of his, then they would cover someone else.
With that, after some minor volume adjustments, the trio led off with “Wasted And Rollin'” from Shires’ 2013 album Down Fell The Doves. The song found Isbell taking lead vocals and Shires providing backing vocals on her own song. Given Isbell’s own troubles with alcohol, which he has been clean of for seven years, he sings the song with a vigor that makes it seem like he wrote the song himself. Next it was Shires’ turn to cover Isbell, which she did by digging into the Drive-By Truckers catalog and pulling out “Goddam Lonely Love”, from 2004’s The Dirty South.
The song holds special significance to Shires as it was one of the first songs she played onstage with Jason, and more importantly was the song that showed her the immense songwriting prowess Isbell had. After once again flipping vocal duties and Shires sending the lyrics into the stratosphere with her remarkable range, it was time for one more cover. But first, it was story time as Isbell recounted making risotto with their daughter, and confessing his lack of knowledge about herbs “that didn’t make you feel funny.” Shires responded with her own humorous, herb-related anecdote about when producer David Cobb broke his own “no weed in the studio” rule for legendary musician David Crosby.
Finally, it was time for the trio to cover a person that they all admire, Will Johnson. They set their sights on “Just To Know What You’ve Been Dreaming”, a song that has been in Isbell’s repertoire for some time and a tune he even played onstage with the man himself.
Watch the second episode of ‘The Second Wave’ of I So Lounging, featuring Peter Levin, below.
Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Peter Levin — I So Lounging
[Video: Amanda Shires]