In Jason Isbell: Running With Our Eyes Closed, the singer, songwriter, and guitarist opens the door into his creative process — and his marriage
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will release the new album Weathervanes on June 9, but it’s the creation of Isbell’s 2020 album Reunions that’s depicted in a new documentary coming to HBO. Jason Isbell: Running With Our Eyes Closed debuts April 7 at 8 p.m. on the premium cable network and will stream on HBO Max. A trailer for the film dropped today.
Directed by Sam Jones, who chronicled the creative tension among the members of Wilco in 2002’s I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, Running With Our Eyes Closed features interviews with the musicians of the 400 Unit — drummer Chad Gamble, guitarist Sadler Vaden, bassist Jimbo Hart, and keyboardist Derry Deborja — along with Isbell’s former bandmate in Drive-By Truckers, Patterson Hood, and Isbell’s manager Traci Thomas.
But it’s the interplay between Isbell and Amanda Shires, his wife and creative partner, that should prove to be most fascinating. “I know how he gets when he makes records, whether he sees it at the time or not,” Shires says in the trailer, which reveals some head-butting between the pair. Muses Isbell: “Most people don’t go to work with their wife.”
Filmed primarily at RCA Studio A in Nashville, where Isbell recorded Reunions with producer Dave Cobb (who also appears in the film), Running With Our Eyes Closed touches on Isbell’s upbringing in Alabama, his journey to sobriety, and, according to a release, “the current state of his marriage.”
Isbell and Shires performed together earlier this week at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena at a benefit concert for LGBTQ rights in Tennessee. The singer-songwriter and the 400 Unit previewed the upcoming Weathervanes, which Isbell produced, earlier this month with the new song “Death Wish.” Jason Isbell: Running With Our Eyes Closed is the latest installment of HBO’s Music Box series, created by Bill Simmons.