Jason Isbell posted a video to his Instagram on Wednesday, where the singer-songwriter covered “Heathens” by Drive By Truckers in honor of his former bandmate Patterson Hood‘s 56th birthday.

In the caption, Isbell noted that “Heathens” is “a monster of a [Drive By Truckers] song, written and usually sang by [Patterson Hood] whose birthday was yesterday. Happy birthday!” He then proceeds to play the song, which appears on Drive By Truckers’ Decoration Day. This album was the first to feature Isbell as a full-fledged member of the group, which only adds sentimentality to his birthday wish. Isbell served as a member of the band from 2001 until 2007 when he left and began a solo career that continues to this day.

Related: Jason Isbell Shares Reimagined Version Of John Prine’s “Hello In There” [Watch/Listen]

While the song is normally sung by Hood, Isbell noted in a 2011 interview, “it’s the one I wind up singing to myself the most.” The smooth descending guitar riff on Isbell’s Resonator guitar is combined with pertinent lyrics like, “These times can take a toll sometimes and I know you feel the same way too/It gets so hard to run between the ditches/When the road winds the way it do,” to make a birthday message better than any Hallmark card.

Watch Jason Isbell perform “Heathens” by Drive By Truckers in honor of Patterson Hood’s birthday.

Jason Isbell – “Heathens” (Drive By Truckers)


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Here’s a monster of a @dbtrockshow song, written and usually sang by @dbtph, whose birthday was yesterday. Happy birthday!

A post shared by jasonisbell (@jasonisbell) on

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are gearing up for the release of their latest album, Reunions, due out on May 15th via Southeastern Records/Thirty Tigers. The group has already released two singles, “What I’ve Done To Help” and “Be Afraid“. Last month, the band announced an expansive summer tour that is due to stretch all the way into fall. Even amid widespread cancellations as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, Isbell’s tour is still set to go on as planned starting on May 22nd with a performance at Boston Calling. Head to his website for tickets and a full list of dates.