Ever since he first joined the rock band Drive-By Truckers at the age of 22, Jason Isbell's life has been something of an open book.
From penning deeply personal song lyrics to talking candidly about his struggles with alcoholism and cocaine addiction, the Grammy Award-winning alternative country star gives the impression of never holding back.
But that impression may not truly match reality.
With Isbell and his group, The 400 Units, headlining Grandview Park's Main Stage during Saturday in the Park at 9 p.m. July 7, the Weekender's investigative reporting team have been working overtime in uncovering some interesting facts about "The Nashville Sound" man.
ISBELL SHARES A BIRTHDAY WITH A WEASEL
Well to be fair, Isbell shares the same birthday with "The Weasel," as in stand-up comic Pauly Shore. Isbell was born on Feb. 1, 1979 and Shore, the star of the movie "Bio-Dome" for born on the same date eleven years earlier.
ISBELL'S PARENTS WERE TEENS WHEN HE WAS BORN
Isbell's interior decorator mom was 17 and his house painter dad was 19 when he was born. Indeed, their marriage -- and subsequent divorce -- was the subject of Isbell's song "Children of Children."
ISBELL WAS OPRY-BOUND AT AN EARLY AGE
When the Weekender staff were popping pimples, Isbell was playing the Grand Ole Opry. He was only 16 years old when he hit the Opry stage, alongside buddy and fellow songwriter Chris Tompkins.
COUNTRY NEEDS MORE FRENCH HORN PLAYERS
While Isbell plays several musical instruments, we're intrigued by the fact that he plays the French horn. Country needs more French horn players, don't you think?
ISBELL JOINED DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS FOLLOWING A JAM SESSION
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Drive-By Truckers lead Patterson Hood hired Isbell -- a friend of the band -- after he filled in for an acoustic set when the regular proved to be a no-show. Isbell stuck around for six years, exiting to go solo.
ISBELL's FIRST MARRIAGE HAD NO 'HAPPY ENDING'
Isbell's first wife was Shonna Tucker, longtime Drive-By Trucker bassist. Both were featured in the band's documentary "The Secret to a Happy Ending." Both the band and the Isbell and Tucker's marriage ended shortly thereafter.
THE SECOND TIME'S A CHARM?
Isbell's second wife, violinist Amanda Shires is in his current band.
WTF DOES THE 400 UNIT MEAN?
Isbell's band is called the 400 Unit because that name is a colloquial term for the psychiatric ward of Florence, Ala.'s Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital. Is it weird that a band is named after a psychiatric facility? Actually, we're surprised that more bands are not.
ISBELL'S A 'SOUL' MAN AT HEART
Isbell credited the soul music and soul-infused rock and roll that came out of his native Alabama in the 1970s has greatly influenced his songwriting. So has a love of Neil Young.
Isbell has a lyric from Bob Dylan's "Boots of Spanish Leather" tattooed on the inside of his left arm. After all, he is a literate type of guy. He was an English and creative writing major at the University of Memphis. He quit, shy of just one physical education credit.
A 'BRAVES' NEW WORLD
Isbell is a progressive Democrat, which is cool for the world of country music. He is also a fan of the Atlanta Braves, which means he's a glutton for punishment.
ISBELL PLAYS THE PART OF PASTOR TO SQUID HILLBILLIES
isbell has been in more than 5 episodes as Pastor Nubbins in "Squidbillies," the long-running Cartoon Network Adult Swim show that revolves around a family of impoverished, anthropomorphic hillbilly mus squid.