Americana power couple Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires returned for another installment of the I So Lounging series on Friday. The husband-and-wife duo were joined, as always, by their trusty piano-playing sidekick Peter Levin for a weather-themed episode of the streaming series.
This live stream marked the fourth episode of the second season of I So Lounging. Isbell and Shires have returned with now-weekly installments of the series, which originally aired almost daily from mid-March to mid-April. Previous installments of the second season have included covers of songs named after women, as well as Shires and Isbell trading songs of each other.
In this weather-themed episode of I So Lounging, the ragtag crew took on seasonal covers by Garth Brooks and James McMurty, as well as an original Shires composition. As always, the session begins with some impromptu jamming that leads into the banter between Isbell and Shires that helps push these three-song sessions toward the 40-minute marker.
The opening chitchat found a more serious tone as Shires addresses the concern of one viewer toward her use of alcohol in proximity to her husband, who has been sober for over seven years. While they appreciate the stranger’s concern, Isbell notes that there is alcohol everywhere and that he is only one bad decision away from taking that drink, so he just doesn’t make that decision. Plus he says he likes everyone around him to be a little bit buzzed “because it makes my jokes work better, it makes me seem to move faster if I need to get away from them, it helps with bear attacks,” and so on.
With that, the trio takes on Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls”. Given the sparse instrumentation of just an acoustic guitar, fiddle, and piano, the song’s inherently ominous nature is turned up to the Nth degree. Shires takes lead vocals on the tune from Brooks’ 1990 album No Fences, giving the song a feminine touch with her silky falsetto.
An innocuous conversation about marijuana leads into Isbell reminding everyone that it’s David Crosby‘s birthday, as well as that of Allman Brothers Band associate—and Duane Allman‘s former barber—Chank Middleton. The trio sing “Happy Birthday” for Crosby, who appeared on Isbell’s 2020 album Reunions, as well as Chank who Levin befriended during his time in the Gregg Allman Band. Following that musical sequitur, the group covers “Rachel’s Song” by folksinger James McMurty, which opens with the line “Must be a cold front coming.” From the moment Isbell takes lead vocals on the tune, it is immediately the influence McMurty must have had on him, as the song sounds like it could have been pulled from Reunions.
Finally, following some more talk of who won the giveaway and a rare anecdote from Levin, the I So Lounging weather episode closed out with Shires’ own “My Love (The Storm)”. The song, from her 2016 album My Piece of Land, found Isbell adding backing vocals as she sings about her love beside the man who receives it.
Watch the weather episode of I So Lounging below.
Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Peter Levin – I So Lounging Episode 4
[Video: Amanda Shires]