Jason Isbell Explains How His Father Inspired ‘Something More Than Free’ [WATCH]
Jason Isbell recently released his new album, Something More Than Free, the title track of which the artist says was inspired by his parents — specifically his father — and their generation of blue-collar workers trying to achieve the “American Dream.”
“There were two things that happened at the same time that I thought were unrelated until I actually started the process of writing the song,” Isbell says in the video above. “I was on the phone with my dad, and he works six days a week, sometimes seven days a week; he does maintenance at a hospital. And my sister, she and my stepmom go to church on Wednesdays [and] on Sunday mornings. Dad works all week, so you know, Sunday’s his only day to sleep past 5AM …
“So I was on the phone with him, and he was saying, ‘You know, I wish I could go to church with them. I think I probably should be, but I’m just too exhausted every Sunday to do that,'” Isbell explains. “And it occurred to me, I thought, ‘Man, what kind of a position is that to be in — you know, where you’re really grateful for having this job that prevents you from being grateful in public about it in the way that people in my part of the country normally show their gratitude, by going to church and giving thanks with their community for something like that?’”
The thought of someone working a job to support a life that they didn’t have time to appreciate struck Isbell, and he ended up putting it together with a lyric idea that he’d come up with while on a plane.
“The first line of the song … ‘When I get home from work, I’ll call up all my friends, and we’ll go bust up something beautiful we’ll have to build again’ — that came to me before the rest of the song did, and I was so thankful for that line …” he says. “It was one of those lines, and I know these are going to work out well when I don’t have to record any sound, when I can just write it down on a piece of paper, and I don’t forget the melody.”
“Something More Than Free” was recently released as the second single from Isbell’s new album, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard‘s country albums chart. Press play on the video above to see Isbell talk about and perform the tune.