12 QUESTIONS WITH JASON ISBELL

Can you give us a brief history of your playing career?
I started playing when I was about 8 years old. I come from a very musical family, so there was always a guitar around. I played in garage bands throughout high school and started writing songs in my mid-teens. After I got out of college, I returned to Muscle Shoals from Memphis and started writing for the staff at FAME studios. I also did some session work for them. That fall, I joined the Drive-By Truckers and stayed in that band for almost six years. I left DBT earlier this year and my solo debut, ‘Sirens of the Ditch,’ was released on New West records in early June.

What inspired you to start playing guitar?
I started playing because of my grandfather and my uncles. They all played many different instruments, but guitar was always the focus.

What was your first electric guitar?
My first electric was an Electra by MPC. It had cheesy built-in effects and it resembled a Les Paul Custom. My uncle Phil gave it to me.

What are your top 5 favorite records?
That’s a tough one. In no particular order:
‘Layla’ by Derek and the Dominos
‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’ by Neutral Milk Hotel
‘Exile on Main Street’ by The Rolling Stones
‘Led Zeppelin IV’
‘Love You Just the Same’ by Centro-Matic

What was the proudest moment and/or performance of your playing career?
That would either be the release of my solo record, meeting Neil Young for the first time, or playing with The Black Crowes at Red Rocks. It’s hard to decide between those.

How did you hear about Reverend?
I found a Reverend amp on consignment in Florida when I was touring with Centro-Matic and began researching the company. I still use that amp in my live setup.

What Reverend guitar(s) are you using?
I play a Flatroc with the Les Trem.

What do you like about your Reverend guitar?
I love everything about the guitar. It sounds great, stays in tune, and has a throwback design that looks great.

What amps and pedals do you currently use?
I use two Reverend Hellhound amps. Please make more! I have an old Tube Screamer, a Boss delay pedal, either an Ibanez Weeping Demon wah or an ancient Thomas Organ Crybaby, and a Loopstation.

Do you have any unusual hobbies, skills, or pastimes you’d like to share with us?
I love to shoot pool. I live above a pool room in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and I’m there every day when I’m home. Maybe Reverend should start making a pool cue. I also collect inanimate frogs, but that’s neither here nor there.

Do you have any advice for up and coming players?
My advice to younger players would be to keep at it. The only way to have any long-lasting success as a player is to refuse to give up and don’t complain. Good things happen to people who underestimate their setbacks.

Please tell us about any of your current projects, tours, cds, etc. we should know about:
I’m out touring behind ‘Sirens of the Ditch’ right now. I have a great band called The 400 Unit, and we’ll be busy for the rest of the year and beyond.