Jason Isbell -- onetime Drive By Trucker, now a successful frontman with his band, The 400 Unit -- is on tour supporting his latest album, Here We Rest. He spoke to CP via phone from Holland.
How's Europe -- is there a lot of interest in Southern rock in, say, Norway?
There seems to be. A lot of people knew the words to the songs, which was a surprise, given that they don't speak, necessarily, great English up there. It was a good crowd.
Growing up around Muscle Shoals, Alabama, were you aware of the important music made in the area?
When I started playing out in local bars, I started running into a lot of the people -- Spooner Oldham and David Hood, folks who had made some of that music. Once I got to know them, I went back and started to look at what they'd done.
You tour a lot. Do you write music on the road, or do you prefer to do that when you're home in Alabama?
I like to say it's like -- when you go home with somebody you don't really know, and you wake up and you really have to take a shit. If it's gonna come out, it's gonna come out, but it's way better to wait 'til you get home so you can leave the door open. Sometimes I have to write on the road, and find the ability and time to do it. But that's not nearly as frequent as writing at home.
JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT with MARIA TAYLOR. 8 p.m. Tue., May 17. Mr. Small's Theatre, Millvale. $13-15. 412-821-4447 or www.mrsmalls.com