By Brent Thompson
When the state of Georgia went blue – politically-speaking that is – Jason Isbell became inspired to record an album of Georgia-related songs. The result is Georgia Blue, a 13-track collection that runs the stylistic spectrum. Aided by his trusty backing band the 400 Unit, Isbell also enlists a stellar guest lineup that includes Brandi Carlile, Bela Fleck, Adia Victoria, John Paul White, Julien Baker, Steve Gorman and Brittney Spencer. Along the way, the ensemble takes on James Brown (“It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World”), Gladys Knight (“Midnight Train To Georgia”), Drivin N Cryin (“Honeysuckle Blue”), The Allman Brothers Band (“In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”) and REM (“Nightswimming”). On Georgia Blue, Isbell and company accomplish the difficult task of being reverent to the material while placing their own stamp on some well-worn classics.