In general, the country music world is a fairly conservative genre, especially the supporting fans. However, it may surprise some that country music star Jason Isbell has recently become vocal about the fact that he is a Democrat and has spoken out about his progressive values, something not all of his fans may get behind.
In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Isbell spoke about his views on conservative Christians. About people who voted for Trump, he said:
‘God is gone from those people.’
In an interview published by The Guardian on Saturday, Isbell was asked about his comments and whether he felt his words were too provocative. He said:
‘In hindsight, it sounds like something a preacher would say in a Southern Baptist church on a Sunday morning.
‘If you can look the other way because you think the economy’s doing better, you can ignore the fact that this man is obviously not a Christian, then you’re not behaving in a way that Jesus would have behaved.’
Isbell went on to make his most important point:
‘So I meant that, and I still mean it. The whole point of Christianity is to behave as Jesus would have behaved – and Jesus would not have voted for Donald Trump, no matter what his pay was going to do as a result of that.’
The country music star was brought up in deep red Republican Alabama. Last year, it shocked some when he outed himself as a Democrat, promoting Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones, who defeated Republican Roy Moore, the man who had been accused of sexually assaulting teenage girls.
According to The Guardian:
‘The “shut up and sing” contingent are still out there on social media, urging him to “go live in Iran” and not be ashamed of his roots. Isbell usually manages to laugh it off or hold his ground without getting sucked into the vortex of rage, but did he worry about a backlash at the time?’
‘Well, the other guy was a pedophile, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to make. It was pretty obvious that everybody in the whole world should have come out in favour of Doug Jones.’
‘I think a very small fraction of my audience was shocked by that and I think it’s very easy to hear loud voices, especially online. Just because it’s easier to pay attention, to focus on the people who are yelling at you on the internet, that doesn’t mean there are a lot of them, there really aren’t. My audience is never divided down the middle.’
One might expect that Isbell would be concerned about losing his audience, but he explained:
‘If you are selling a commodity, if the music you are selling is similar to Frosted Flakes, then you are gonna have a pretty even mix of Americans on both sides of the aisle buying your product. But if you’re honest and you have some kind of a story that means something, there’s no way that split’s going to be 50/50. So yeah, a few people got pissed off, but I don’t care! The guy was a pedophile! It’s collateral damage.’
Isbell recently played at a Tennessee rally in support of Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bresden who is campaigning in a tight race. Because of that, he was branded as part of the “unhinged left” by the Republican party. However, Isbell said:
‘I got a kick out of that because it was such a disaster on their part.’
Isbell often sings a song about “white privilege.” After a fan tweeted at him saying “Equality has been achieved. Don’t be ashamed of your roots,” he tweeted this response.
Twitter also had something to say about the song:
Isbell lives in Nashville which is “an island of Democratic blue in a sea of Republican red.” With the midterms closely approaching and his plans to be on stage there, he was asked about being overtly political. He said:
‘Well, my job is to write songs and if I feel like it is an emergency and I feel like I need to say something political between the songs, then I’ll do that. But normally, if it doesn’t rhyme and it doesn’t involve me introducing my band, I’m not gonna say it, because I’m not a standup comedian, I’m not a lecturer and I don’t give Ted talks. If there’s not a melody and some rhyme there then you probably won’t hear it from me. But I think the songs speak enough.’
Featured image is a screenshot from YouTube