Winning song of the year for “Alabama Pines,” along with three nominations in the Americana Music Awards, hasn’t changed Jason Isbell.
The Greenhill native, whose band The 400 Unit is named after the old name of the psychiatric ward at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital, still is excited for his homecoming and still interested in making good, authentic music.
“I don’t really think it effects what I’m doing,” Isbell said. “It may have widened our audience a good bit, which is always a good thing. You know, we’ve always done our best. Whether anyone recognizes it or not, we’re going to keep getting up and playing every night the best that we can.
“It is nice to know that people are recognizing our work. I think it was a good morale boost for everyone in the band.”
And coming home, being able to see family and old friends, plus playing in a venue that is familiar to Isbell is a nice way to end a winter tour.
“Jimbo and Chad, our rhythm section still live down there in the Shoals, and I lived down there up until six months ago,” Isbell said. “There’s lots of family and friends there.”
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit will play most of their songs from their most recent album, “Live from Alabama,” which was recorded at WorkPlay Theater in Birmingham and Crossroads in Huntsville.
But Isbell said not to expect any certain song or a cookie-cutter set.
“We don’t ever do a set list, it just depends on what we’re in the mood for and what the crowd is in the mood for,” Isbell said. “We try to cover a little bit of all of our records. Some nights some are more heavier than others. It just depends on who shows up.”
Andrew Combs will be opening for Isbell.
“He’s a really good songwriter, good singer,” Isbell said. “I like him; he’s a good guy and he works hard.”
About “Live from Alabama,” Isbell said recording a live album can be a nerve-racking process.
“I was just thinking, the whole time ‘this is going on tape, this is going on tape,’ ” Isbell said.
“ ‘This is going to be recorded and released so I better not mess up.’ But everyone did a good job, and we were able to put out an album that wasn’t heavily doctored or manipulated in post production. And that was really important to me.”
And the album is a good representation of where the band is now, Isbell said.
Isbell’s Florence show will be the last stop on his 2012 winter tour, which started in Nashville and saw Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit play all throughout the Southeast, Boston, New York City, Hartford, Conn., D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago before returning to the South to play Memphis, Nashville and Florence.
In between, Isbell performed on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”
“He’s (David Letterman) become a good friend of ours, and they always treat us really well,” Isbell said.
The whole band has played Letterman twice now, and Isbell has performed twice with other artists.
But with the world alledgedly ending Friday, the day before Isbell’s concert, he said he isn’t too worried.
“I heard the Russians are scared of that one, so I don’t know what to believe,” Isbell s aid.
“Usually when the Russians are scared of something it won’t happen.”
Bobby Bozeman can be reached at 256-740-5722 or bobby.bozeman@TimesDaily.com.
Want to go?
What: Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit concert
Where: The Shoals Theatre, 123 N. Seminary St., Florence
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $20; tickets available at Pegasus Records, 612 E. Tennessee St., Florence