One of Weathervanes‘ standout tracks seems to get better each time Isbell and his band play it live
Earlier this fall, Jason Isbell and the 400 United stopped by the Moody Theater in Austin for what would become their third appearance on Austin City Limits. Isbell had spent the summer presenting nearly every song from Weathervanes, his acclaimed 2023 album, so by the time they arrived at the studios, the new songs were ready for their ACL-taping debut.
That worn-in quality can be heard plainly in the band’s performance of “King of Oklahoma,” which Rolling Stone Country is exclusively premiering in advance of Isbell’s ACL broadcast this Saturday, Nov. 11. The nearly seven-minute rendition of the song, which Isbell wrote while on set in Oklahoma filming Martin Scorsese’s Killer of the Flower Moon, culminates in a riveting dueling guitar solo from Isbell and guitarist Sadler Vaden.
It’s a thrilling performance that shows off the ways in which Isbell has transformed his live set to center the new songs. “When Weathervanes came out we started palying nine or ten songs every night from that album, and that’s half our set,” Isbell told Rolling Stone earlier this fall. “So if people are looking for a good time to go to the bathroom or the bar, it’s going to be tense if they don’t like the new record. And I do that, too: If I go see somebody I’ve listened to for decades and they have a new song and I need to pee, that’s the the time I go do it. So it’s a shock to me when we can play half of a set from the new album and everybody seems to dig it just as much as they do the old classics….It’s a good feeling.”
“King of Oklahoma” is the second song from Isbell’s forthcoming ACL taping. “I sure do loving this show,” he said in a statement. “Been watching this since I was a little kid.”