Jason Isbell Says He’s “Trying To Eliminate” People From His Audience Who Are Turned Off By His Online Presence

Jason Isbell
Alyssa Gafkjen

Sounds like Jason Isbell is just fine losing fans.

The singer and songwriter is known not only for his highly-acclaimed music, like his 2013 album Southeastern or his Grammy-winning 2023 project Weathervanes, but also for his outspoken presence online.

Isbell hasn’t been shy about sharing his political opinions or arguing with fans on social media. And he’s often dismissive and derisive of anyone who disagrees with him.

But apparently he doesn’t really care if his antics on social media lose him fans.

In a post on Threads (which makes Isbell one of the few people left actually using Threads), he addressed those who say they like his music but aren’t a fan of his online presence:

“If you like my music but you’re turned off by my online presence that means you’re one of the people I’m trying to eliminate from my audience.”


Post by @jasonisbell
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Trying to eliminate fans from your audience is an…interesting choice.

Isbell further elaborated that he doesn’t “need everybody to love me.”

“I figured out a long time ago I don’t need everybody to love me. That shit won’t make you happy anyway. I just need the ones who do love me to know me.”

He also said that he doesn’t care to stay off social media just to build a persona as an artist:

“I do not give a shit about “mystique.” I care about songs and about being honest with myself and everybody else. Mystique is great if you don’t have the songs, I guess.”

And he seemingly again addressed the rumors that have surfaced surrounding his divorce:

“Privacy is important, especially when it comes to protecting people I care about. For me personally though, you’d have to completely make stuff up to cause any trouble, because my business is in order and I’m an open book. Truth makes for strong armor.”

Earlier this year, fans were shook when it was revealed that Isbell had filed for divorce from his wife, fellow singer/songwriter, 400 Unit band member and frequent collaborator, Amanda Shires, after nearly 11 years of marriage.

The two singers were married in February of 2013 following Isbell’s decision to get sober and stint in rehab the previous year. The two were married shortly after Isbell finished recording his Southeastern album, on which Shires accompanies Isbell with vocals and fiddle. The lead track, and perhaps Isbell’s most famous song, “Cover Me Up,” is a deeply personal love song written by Isbell to his wife, as Isbell credited Shires with convincing him to go to rehab and sober up, after he confessed to her that he needed help with his addiction. The song was later covered by Morgan Wallen.

In addition to being a member of The Highwomen, Shires has been featured on every album Isbell has released over the last decade, including his most recent album Weathervanes in 2023. She has also toured extensively with her husband.

The petition for divorce was filed December 15, 2023 in Williamson County Chancery Court, just outside of Nashville. Up until the actual filing, fans speculated that the two may be having marital problems when a birthday post that Shires made for Isbell was taken down shortly after it was posted, and the couple unfollowed each other on Instagram.

In a recent episode of Broken Record Podcast with with Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam and Justin Richmond, Jason Isbell briefly touched on the divorce when asked how he is going to navigate it, marking his first public comments on their separation.

His answer was rather vague, and perhaps understandably so:

“What do you think I should do? Help? What do I do… I think I’m just going to try and be honest in all the ways that I legally can. There’s certain things we’ve agreed not to talk about but I think I can still manage to tell people who I am and what the truth is from my perspective. It’s one of those things where not everything that ends was a failure, you know? I think we did a lot of really beautiful things together and I have a really fond memories of all of that, and I don’t regret any of it, even the hard stuff. 

It’s like when I got into recovery, I wound up after a few years looking back and thinking ‘I don’t regret even the worst parts of that’ because it all goes into making me who I am. And the time will come when the wounds aren’t still fresh, the time will come when I’m able to take all this and put it into my work in a way that is honest and true, but makes sense for me.

I’m gonna be patient and in the meantime I got plenty of other **** to write about. That’s one thing I think of a lot of songwriters miss is the inspiration… you don’t need it, man. You don’t need it, it’s everywhere. If you can’t look out your window and find 20 things to write about then you’re not a serious songwriter yet. Because it’s all over the place.”

While Isbell has understandably chosen not to go into any real detail surrounding his divorce, that didn’t stop the ol’ internet rumor mill from doing its thing, as speculation began to fly that Isbell had been having an affair with a member of his team while he was still married to Shires.

But Isbell took to social media today in an attempt to squash those rumors:

“I can’t believe I need to say this, but – My manager, business manager, tour manager, tour assistant, and both publicists are all women. I’m very grateful for each of them. None of us have ever had any kind of romantic relationship in any way.

Please don’t make up misogynistic nonsense stories and post them online. It’s hard enough already for anybody who isn’t a straight white man in our business, and now there are folks contacting them and accusing them of “breaking up a family.” Stop it.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock