The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.
Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires feel fortunate. They have their 4-year-old daughter, Mercy, a wonderful home, and each other. But as Jason points out, "It's been a little difficult, we haven't gotten to do the thing we feel we were born to do." Playing for an audience is what these two have been doing for a good part of their lives. Still, they're in their barn, making music for all of us to hear, and they are grateful for that. The songs for this Tiny Desk (home) concert are from Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit's Spring release, Reunions. "Dreamsicle" shares the story of a child seeing his family falling apart all around. Reflecting on those times, he finds fond memories, and the chorus of the song — "a Dreamsicle on a summer night in a folding lawn chair" — conjures up bright light even amidst the darkness.
The final song, "It Gets Easier," deals with Jason's drinking demons, with a refrain filled with such stark truth: "It gets easier, but it never gets easy." These words could be an anthem for all those in recovery. It's the nature of Jason Isbell to sing the truth. He does it here with his remarkably talented partner and — unbeknownst to Mercy — a daughter that gives them strength.