Live ReviewsMusic

Jason Isbell Returns to Stage with Two Charlotte Shows

Jason Isbell
Jason Isbell played Friday and Saturday nights at Ovens Auditorium. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

Michael Jackson. Beyonce. Harry Styles. Justin Timberlake. Ozzy Osbourne. Stevie Nicks. Sting. There are plenty of musicians who had more or equal success as solo artists than they did as part of a band. Add Jason Isbell to that list.

The former member of Drive-By Truckers has made quite a name for himself since leaving the alt-country outfit 15 years ago. Playing his own brand of alt-country and Southern folk, Isbell was in Charlotte for two nights at Ovens Auditorium.

Jason Isbell
Jason Isbell and Sadler Vaden. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

After having to reschedule multiple shows in spots like Asheville and Wilmington due to a COVID diagnosis, Isbell returned to his tour on Friday with two great sets in Charlotte. Though attendance was down a bit on Friday due to the snow — maybe around 75% — there was a packed house on Saturday.

While the setlists had some overlap from night to night — such as, “Be Afraid” and “24 Frames” — there were plenty of moments that stood out, including Isbell dedicating “Letting You Go” to his 6-year-old daughter who was backstage.

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Blending folk, Southern rock, and alt-country throughout the night, Isbell showcased his outstanding storytelling, prolific guitar chops and vocal range. While he’s been an outspoken advocate for vaccines and a harsh critic of Morgan Wallen, Saturday night’s performance was a showcase of Isbell’s musical talents of the last 20 years.

Fun Charlotte music trivia: Guitarist Sadler Vaden was born here in the Queen City, according to his intro.

Jason Isbell
Sadler Vaden (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

Be sure to check out Queen City Nerve’s Soundwave, Charlotte’s most comprehensive live music listing, so you don’t miss out on any shows or concerts coming up. And hell, if you’re looking for something else to do, you can check out our Lifeline as well, which runs the gamut of things to do in Charlotte. You don’t ever have to be bored again. You can check out more of Jeff’s pics and live reviews here


What’ve I Done to Help
Hope the High Road
Something More Than Free
24 Frames
Letting You Go
Different Days
Super 8
Last of My Kind
The Life You Chose
Goddamn Lonely Love (Drive‐By Truckers cover)
Be Afraid
If We Were Vampires
Speed Trap Town
Honeysuckle Blue (Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ cover w/ Sadler Vaden on lead vocals.)
Cover Me Up

Jason Isbell
Jason Isbell at Ovens Auditorium. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

Tour of Duty
The Truth (Precious Bryant cover w/ Adia Victoria)
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (Allman Brothers Band cover)

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