Jason Isbell Quips: 'A Series of Errors' Behind His 6 Grammy Triumphs

Jason Isbell takes a bold leap into acting

by Zain ul Abedin
Jason Isbell Quips: 'A Series of Errors' Behind His 6 Grammy Triumphs
© Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

In the latest edition of PEOPLE magazine, celebrated singer-songwriter Jason Isbell opens up with refreshing honesty about the dualities of his life: his creative process, the unexpected dive into Hollywood, and navigating the complex interplay of personal triumphs and trials.

With a collection of six Grammy Awards, including two recent accolades, Isbell shares his somewhat humorous take on achieving recognition in the music industry. “At 45, I’ve learned the art of standing out to Grammy voters, either by being a household name like Beyoncé or carving out a unique space in a niche genre.

My journey wasn’t straightforward; it involved battling personal demons, including alcoholism, and experiencing the pain of divorce. But it seems my story helped make my name recognizable,” Isbell reveals, not without a touch of irony.

This self-awareness comes after clinching the titles for best American roots song and best Americana album at the last Grammy Awards, marking a significant milestone in his career that began with the Drive-By Truckers and took a solo turn in 2007.

Isbell's personal life has been as much a public narrative as his music. His battle with alcoholism, subsequent recovery, and marriage to fellow musician Amanda Shires have profoundly influenced his artistry. Despite facing the upheaval of a divorce recently, Isbell reflects on the resilience sobriety has instilled in him, enabling him to face life's challenges with a newfound strength.

Isbell's Acting Debut

The past year has been particularly adventurous for Isbell, who ventured into acting with a role in Martin Scorsese's "Killers of the Flower Moon." Recounting his initial nervousness about working alongside icons like Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, Isbell shares how he embraced the experience with gratitude, a principle that has guided him through many of life’s uncertainties.

Lily Gladstone, Isbell's co-star, praises his natural acting ability and expresses enthusiasm for future collaborations, hinting at the potential for Isbell to explore more of his acting prowess. Isbell himself harbors ambitions of playing Lowell George in the upcoming Linda Ronstadt biopic, a role he feels passionately about, not least because of his ability to contribute authentically to the portrayal.

As Isbell continues to tour with his band, the 400 Unit, in support of their latest album, "Weathervanes," he remains grounded in the joy of making music with friends. This journey of navigating the highs and lows, with its blend of music, personal growth, and an unexpected foray into acting, illustrates a life lived with authenticity and resilience, as Jason Isbell continues to resonate with fans across multiple arenas.