One of the best traditions to emerge in Music City in the past decade is set to make its annual return. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit have announced their October residency at the Ryman.
For 2022, the run of eight shows is split into three blocks: Oct. 14 through 16, Oct. 18 and 19 and Oct. 21 through 23. Ticket prices run $49.75 to $129.75, and tickets go on sale Friday, June 24, at 10 a.m. Central. The Ryman’s website has all the details.
It’s a great tradition in part because the stellar songsmith and his band could probably play anywhere they wanted, but they choose to make the Mother Church kinda like their living room for a bunch of nights instead. The residency has also become an opportunity for Isbell & Co. to give the proverbial swift kick in the ass to the lack of support that people who aren’t white men often face in the music business. Last year’s opening acts were mostly Black women who work with various flavors of country and Americana. This time out, the vast majority of the support comes courtesy of an array of Black and brown musicians across a broad spectrum of traditions.
Up first on Oct. 14 is Peter One, who became a folk-rock superstar along with his musical partner Jess Sah Bi in their native Ivory Coast in the 1980s, and later settled in Nashville. On Oct. 15, you’ll get to see the Grace Group Gospel Choir, a locally based and internationally traveling ensemble. Oct. 16, get there on time for Cameroonian American singer-songwriter Vagabon.
Mexico-born songsmith Kevin Kaarl, who you might have heard dueting with Leon Bridges on his new single “Summer Moon,” kicks off the second block of dates on Oct. 18. Wide-ranging New Orleans songsmith Leyla McCalla, who collaborated with Nashville’s own chatterbird in March and who released a new LP called Breaking the Thermometer in May, follows on Oct. 19.
Superlative songwriter and bandleader Amanda Shires, who’s also Isbell’s wife and sometime member of The 400 Unit, kicks off the last three-show block on Oct. 21. She’s got a new LP on the way on July 29, Take It Like a Man, and just today she released a live-in-studio performance vid of the title track; she’s also got a release party on the books at Third Man for July 28 which has sold out, so here’s your next best shot to catch her. Instrumental duo Hermanos Gutiérrez opens for Isbell on Oct. 22, while Cimafunk, whose work might make you think of Bruno Mars with Cuban flair, leads off the final show in the run on Oct. 23.
As usual, expect all of these shows to be a blast. It seems no matter how many nights Isbell books, they’ll all sell out quickly, so hop on those ticket links as soon as you can on Friday.