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Brooklyn Bowl Finally Gets Rolling in Nashville with Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires

by Rich and Laura Lynch

"This is weird as sh**" observed Jason Isbell during his livestream on Friday, May 15, 2020. Weird indeed as livestreaming and social distancing is becoming the "new normal". Jason along with his wife Amanda Shires presented an acoustic set showcasing songs from Reunions. The new album from Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit dropped the same day as this broadcast from the Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee.

Brooklyn Bowl Finally Gets Rolling in Nashville with Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires
Jason Isbell during less socially distant times in Nashville.

Weird - that an artist who has sold out the revered Ryman Auditorium almost 2 dozen times is playing an empty space in 2020. Jason is well respected for his work in the Drive-By Truckers (2001 to 2007) and has won four Grammy Awards. Amanda Shires on fiddle is an important part of The 400 Unit's sound while Jason has mastered the craft of storytelling with the new songs revealing even deeper insights.

Weird - to release a record during a pandemic that is currently curtailing artists from touring in support of their new material which was how things were normally done. Isbell shared that the project was finished beforehand and it reflects a period of time in his life so he did not want to wait. It could work out well as people are looking for new music. Plus, he and the Mrs. might be stuck home for many more months with time to craft another CD.

Weird - to be playing live to just a limited crew as fans enjoy the concert from the comfort of their own homes. In this case, FAM CAM was utilized. FANS CAM allows global listeners to be a part of livestreams through the technology of Zoom. Besides a few house rules FANS CAM encourages folks to set-up their own scenes for a better chance of being featured.

During Jason's show people were seen on screen with their children and pets. Many held up signs letting the couple know where they were from or mentioning a song. One fan stated that she walked down the aisle to "If We Were Vampires" (one of our personal favorites too). A number of times Jason commented that he liked seeing folks and the tool allowed applause between tunes giving the couple feedback which is a big part of live concerts. We have heard many artists comment that they play off the energy of a crowd which is lost in the sterile world of livestreaming.

Brooklyn Bowl Finally Gets Rolling in Nashville with Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires
The Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville.

Weird - that a new music club's first show was a livestream. The Brooklyn Bowl Nashville located at 925 3rd Avenue North was scheduled to open in the city's Germantown neighborhood in mid-March. This location is the brand's third offering following the original in New York City (established 2009) and one in Las Vegas. The two floor space can accommodate 1,200 bowlers (19 lanes) and music fans. Food and drinks will also be available when they are able to service the public, but for now, Nashville's own - Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires were the first to perform at the venue via livestream.

Despite all the weird - it was a solid set even if they had to start some of the new songs more than once. Highlights from Reunions included the rich and reflective "Running With Our Eyes Closed" and. "What've I Done To Help". "River" was packed with powerful prose too. The pair also played a few classics to round out the show.

Another new tune "Only Children" featured a funny story told by Amanda about David Crosby who sang on the track. The couple also commented on touring with Willie Nelson. Isbell shared that he was once a heavy drinker. He has been sober for over eight years and "It Gets Easier" - but never easy was an encouragement to those dealing with addiction. They closed with "Letting You Go" a beautiful song describing a Dad watching his baby girl grow into a bride.

This livestream was free with a suggested donation to support Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit's crew and the important work of MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. In addition, through the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief project, Spotify will match all donations to MusiCares, dollar for dollar, up to a collective total of $10 million.

Brooklyn Bowl Finally Gets Rolling in Nashville with Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires
Jason Isbell debuted tracks from Reunions to a live streaming digital audience via

Related Links: For more information on JASON ISBELL and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Jason Isbell | | Brooklyn Bowl Nashville | Jason Isbell Rocks Gibson | Jason Isbell Rallies


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