Jason Isbell, like so many of his musical counterparts in and around Nashville, where the singer-songwriter makes his home, is hunkered down and riding out the coronavirus pandemic. The self-reflective, soul-probing poet who was Artist in Residence at the Country Music Hall Of Fame now ponders what playing live music will look like in a post-COVID-19 world, when and if that point comes.

What Jason Isbell can celebrate, regardless of the current, dreadful statistics, are the sweet moments of delightful domesticity with his wife, fiddle virtuoso in her own right, Amanda Shires, and their four-year-old daughter, Mercy.

A child’s innate joy and imagination cannot be stifled by the constraints of worldwide contagion, nor can the gift of music, whose inspiration cannot be squelched, no matter the dire circumstances.

Simply taking a gander at the gazillions of views for any of the “live” musical performances from the virtual world gives an indication for the rabid hunger for true artistry. Music does more than soothe the savage beast-- it blesses every hearing soul with the gift of hope for the future. Jason Isbell’s personal and artistic journey has scaled the heights of fame and documented the fall into addiction’s pits of depravity before his genuine and courageous embrace of a whole, healed life.

Only now, with clearer and contented eyes, can Jason Isbell look behind to see himself in bondage, and bestow the forgiveness in the refrains of his sixth album, “Reunions,” released today, May 15.

The four-time Grammy winner reflected on the presumed precipitous timing of the album and its deep fulfillment with CBS in a May 14 feature.

Jason Isbell still grabs the top of the charts in tumultuous times

No artist would knowingly plan the release of an album in the middle of a pandemic. Jason Isbell cut his songwriting teeth crafting songs in the Muscle Shoals heady studio system, so he certainly knows his way around a perfect riff and just the right song.

“That's not what I planned on,” he told “CBS This Morning” co-anchor, Anthony Mason, regarding the timing of “Reunions.”

Nonetheless, the stellar songwriter describes that he would have been “super disappointed if I had to wait.”

This morning, May 15, Headline Planet, broke the news that was anything but disappointing to Jason Isbell.

Already, within only hours, “Reunions” has climbed to the top of the iTunes sales charts. So much for any talk of a music industry slump. The pathos and pure honesty in the latest Jason Isbell collection create an emotional elixir suited for the self quarantined times. Even while sheltering in place, listeners sense the same “connection with people” that the singer-songwriter yearns to fulfill.

A deeply personal loss shaped the coronavirus perspective for Jason Isbell

Last week, during a virtual visit with Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show,” Jason Isbell was completely empathetic with the countless musicians making a living gig to gig and paycheck to paycheck. The same was true for him about 10 years ago, when he recalls “living from a van” after being ousted from Drive-By Truckers.

He is thankful that his recent success has provided “kind of a safety net” through this unprecedented period, but he knows “that's not going to last forever.”

Life doesn't last forever for anyone, either. The jolting loss of the legendary John Prine from COVID-19 gutted Americana music and devastated Jason Isbell in losing a revered and dear friend. Isbell and Shires performed on John Prine’s Grammy-nominated final album, “Tree of Forgiveness,” and the sense of family bonding flowed through every track.

“There’s no such thing as overreacting,” Jason Isbell responds regarding the virus. “If John's loss had been the only one, it would still be enough to keep us in the house for as long as it takes.” Tragically, more than 87,000 dear souls have been added to the toll.

Isbell completely understands the stance of those saying “you can't eat a record,” in these troubled times, as he told Trevor Noah. At the same time, he is content playing guitar for five hours a day, and pretending that he and his daughter are in a hotel (like on tour) during playtime.

Time brings healing and self-forgiveness for Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell confesses that the challenge of confronting, much less forgiving, his former self of about eight years ago was more than he could handle until the creation of the aptly titled “Reunions” began. The songwriter he created his former self to that notorious friend who everyone knows will get him in trouble “if I go out with that guy.”

The songs “It Gets Easier” and “Only Children” come at the past with equal parts grace and compassion, not erasing the fond memories.

Every father, and even daughters who wish they’d had fathers, can sense the infinite love in “Letting You Go,” particularly during the self quarantined hours. Perhaps it was never planned by the composer, but Providence had a plan for the funk-groove drive of “What’ve I Done to Help” that will ponder its appeal for generations past the present pandemic siege. “River” flows through the senses and the soul with redemptive peace.

Every person has a past, and reconciliation of present hopes with past realities takes a courageous reckoning. The labor pains of bringing forth “Reunions” were difficult. “We could've had a better time, but I don't think we could have made a better album,” Jason Isbell contends.

The sensations of pain will fade and the fruit of this album will be treasured far past present tribulations.

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