In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, Jason Isbell tweeted, “If Biden wins Georgia I’m gonna make a charity covers album of my favorite Georgia songs — R.E.M., Gladys Knight, Vic Chesnutt, Allmans, Cat Power, Precious Bryant, Now It’s Overhead, etc… And damn is that gonna be fun.” He subsequently confirmed that he hadn’t just been blowing electoral smoke but was really in the studio, working on giving voters in the swing state — and Peach State allies — their due reward.

The result, a charity album called “Georgia Blue,” comes out digitally with Oct. 15, with a Record Store Day vinyl edition imminently to be announced. The 13-song set spreads the love with a number of guest lead or co-lead vocalists and featured instrumentalists, including Brandi Carlile, Julien Baker, Béla Fleck, Chris Thile, John Paul White, Brittney Spencer, Adia Victoria, Steve Gorman, Peter Levin and prominent members of his band the 400 Unit, Amanda Shires and Sadler Vaden.

Among the songs covered are Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” Vic Chestnut’s “I’m Through” and the Allman Brothers Band’s “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” (an instrumental that, yes, plays out at 12-plus minutes, only slightly shorter than the version on “At Fillmore East”). Carlile, a megafan of the Indigo Girls, teams up with Baker for a rendition of that duo’s “Kid Fears.” John Paul White puts in two appearances — as lead vocalist on a cover of R.E.M.’s “Driver 8,” released today as a teaser track for the album, and as a duet partner with Brittney Spencer on Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia.” R.E.M. is the only Georgia artist covered twice, as bookends on the album, with a version of “Nightswimming” combining the guest efforts of Fleck and Thile opening the record before “Driver 8” closes it.

Other artists being covered include James Brown, the Black Crowes, Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, Cat Power, Precious Bryant and Now It’s Overhead.

Proceeds are earmarked for three organizations: Black Voters Matter, Fair Fight and Georgia Stand-Up.

A full tour has also been announced for Isbell and the 400 Unit. Although dates were already in progress — as anyone knows who has followed the news reports of Isbell announcing he would only play venues that would allow the restriction of requiring vaccination or a negative test for entry — the tour is now revealed to stretch through March 2, 2022. Full dates are listed below, along with a track listing for the new album.

“‘Georgia Blue is a labor of love,” Isbell said in a statement. “On election day 2020, when I saw that there was a good chance the state of Georgia might go blue, I came up with an idea: to record an album of Georgia-related songs as a thank you to the state and donate the money to a Georgia-based non-profit organization. I will admit my motivations were a bit selfish. For years, I’ve been looking for an excuse to record these songs with my band and some friends. The songs on this album are some of my favorite Georgia-related songs… I hope you enjoy listening to these recordings as much as we enjoyed making them. Keep listening to good music and fighting the good fight.”


“Georgia Blue” track list:

1. “Nightswimming” feat. Béla Fleck and Chris Thile (originally performed by R.E.M.)
2. “Honeysuckle Blue” feat. Sadler Vaden (originally performed by Drivin’ N’ Cryin’)
3. “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” feat. Brittney Spencer (originally performed by James Brown)
4. “Cross Bones Style” feat. Amanda Shires (originally performed by Cat Power)
5. “The Truth” feat. Adia Victoria (originally performed by Precious Bryant)
6. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (originally performed by Otis Redding)
7. “Sometimes Salvation” feat. Steve Gorman (originally performed by The Black Crowes)
8. “Kid Fears” feat. Julien Baker and Brandi Carlile (originally performed by Indigo Girls)
9. “Reverse” (originally performed by Now It’s Overhead)
10. “Midnight Train To Georgia” feat. Brittney Spencer and John Paul White (originally performed by Gladys Knight & The Pips)
11. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” feat. Peter Levin (originally performed by The Allman Brothers Band)
12. “I’m Through” (originally performed by Vic Chesnutt)
13. “Driver 8” feat. John Paul White (originally performed by R.E.M.)

Tour dates:

September 14—Vienna, VA—Wolf Trap*
September 15—Philadelphia, PA—Met Opera House†
September 17—Fredericton, Canada—Harvest Music Festival
September 18—Boston, MA—The Wang Theatre‡
September 19—East Aurora, NY—Borderland Music Festival
September 20—Detroit, MI—The Fillmore§
September 24—New York, NY—Rooftop at Pier 17+
September 25—New York, NY—Rooftop at Pier 17+
September 26—Richmond, VA—Virginia Credit Union Live! at Richmond Raceway+
October 2-3—Florence, AL—ShoalsFest
October 7—Mobile, AL—Saenger Theatre# (SOLD OUT)
October 8—Memphis, TN—Soundstage at Graceland§
October 10—Oklahoma City, OK—The Criterion
October 15—Nashville, TN—Ryman Auditorium^ (SOLD OUT)
October 16—Nashville, TN—Ryman Auditorium§ (SOLD OUT)
October 17—Nashville, TN—Ryman Auditorium° (SOLD OUT)
October 19—Nashville, TN—Ryman Auditorium%
October 20—Nashville, TN—Ryman Auditorium**
October 22—Nashville, TN—Ryman Auditorium†† (SOLD OUT)
October 23—Nashville, TN—Ryman Auditorium+ (SOLD OUT)
October 24—Nashville, TN—Ryman Auditorium‡‡
November 26—Durham, NC—Durham Performing Arts Center§§
November 27—Durham, NC—Durham Performing Arts Center§§
November 28—Greenville, SC—The Peace Center‡
November 30—St. Louis, MO—Stifel Theatre++
December 1—Minneapolis, MN—The Armory++
December 2—Milwaukee, WI—Riverside Theater++
December 4—East Moline, IL—The Rust Belt++
December 5—Owensboro, KY—Owensboro Sportscenter‡
December 7—Moon, PA—UPMC Events Center++
December 8—Akron, OH—Akron Civic Theatre##
December 10—Cincinnati, OH—Andrew J Brady ICON Music Center^^
December 11—Cincinnati, OH—Andrew J Brady ICON Music Center^^
December 12—Pikeville, KY—Appalachian Wireless Arena°°
December 16—Atlanta, GA—The Tabernacle§
December 17—Atlanta, GA—The Tabernacle%%
December 18—Atlanta, GA—The Tabernacle‡
December 19—Atlanta, GA—The Tabernacle°°
February 24, 2022—San Francisco, CA—The Warfield Theatre~
February 25, 2022—San Francisco, CA—The Warfield Theatre~
February 26, 2022—Santa Barbara, CA—The Arlington Theatre~
March 1, 2022—Vancouver, Canada—The Orpheum~
March 2, 2022—Seattle, WA—Paramount Theatre~
June 18, 2022—Williamsburg, VA—Williamsburg Live at DeWitt Museum
August 26-28, 2022—Tisbury, MA—Beach Road Weekend

*with special guest Waxahatchee
†with special guest Kathleen Edwards
‡with special guest S.G. Goodman
§with special guest Brittney Spencer
+with special guest Joy Oladokun
#with special guest Rob Aldridge
^with special guest Amanda Shires
°with special guest Mickey Guyton
%with special guest Amythyst Kiah
**with special guest Shemekia Copeland
††with special guest Allison Russell
‡‡with special guest Adia Victoria
§§with special guest Hiss Golden Messenger
++with special guest Strand of Oaks
##with special guest Molly Tuttle
^^with special guest Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives
°°with special guest Morgan Wade
%%with special guest Gabe Lee
~with special guest Lucinda Williams