Jason Isbell Roadtrip Reminder that Saturday in the Park is Great
Jason Isbell has played in Sioux Falls three times, the latest about a year ago at the Pavilion.
Before that, it was two shows at the Orpheum, a pretty small venue, though I enjoy it very much.
The measure of how far he's come since those early appearances here are marked not just by the four Grammy's but that he and his band -- the 400 Unit -- headlined Saturday in the Park in Sioux City over the weekend (July 7).
Isbell was incredible, again. With his wife, Amanda Shires, on fiddle, it's an emotive and energetic performance that does justice to Isbell's at times emotionally overwhelming storytelling.
By the way, if you don't know, Shires is a thing in her own right, with a new record out in August.
The trip to Sioux City also reminded me just how great Saturday in the Park is an event. It's all so smooth. There are thousands of people in Grandview Park every year and it all seems to run without a hitch.
You can take a shuttle from the Tyson Center or just find a side street. Last Saturday, we stopped downtown and got a bite to eat, where we ran into other Sioux Falls friends headed to the show. We popped up to the park, found a spot about five blocks away and walked to the show.
It was easy and fun.
I've been to a lot of Saturday in the Park shows since they launched in 1991. I worked in Sioux City in the early and mid-90s, was able to interview some of the acts and got to know the people involved.
Dave Bernstein, one of the founders of the event, was on The Patrick Lalley Show on Friday. It was great to walk back through the origins of the all-day festival and the amazing commitment the organization has to the community.
That always comes through. It's just a big neighborhood party, every year.
It was great to be back.
Isbell is amazing. He wins Grammy's and makes incredible music. And yet, it's still some doofus in a stupid hat that gets all the attention in country music. It really is ridiculous, but I suppose not surprising. It's the same in pop music and it always has been.
And I probably should be happy he isn't more popular, otherwise I wouldn't get to see him as much.
I can't wait for what he does next.
And I can't wait for him to come back to Sioux Falls.