Descending upon McFarland Park on the outskirts of downtown Florence, Alabama, Jason Isbell’s debut music festival Shoals Fest took place on the banks of the Tennessee River with touching moments and heart warming, incredible music.
The festival, headlined by Isbell and his band The 400 Unit, also included sets from Sheryl Crow, Mavis Staples, and Amanda Shires.
Amanda Shires performed songs from her solo albums and her new project The Highwomen who just released their first album earlier this year.
Mavis Staples performed several Staple Singers hits mixed with her own songs. The best part of her set was when she brought out “Lil’ David Hood” aka famed bassist for the Muscle Shoals Swampers and long time friend of Mavis. This was one of the most talked about moment of the festival, hands down. Isbell also made an appearance for a collaboration. Staples called Isbell her “little brother,” which is the cutest.
Sheryl Crow came out swinging with hits such as “If It Makes You Happy,” and “All I Wanna Do,” which got the crowds moving and ready for the rest of the evening. She collaborated with Shires and Isbell for several songs, then closed out her set with the three mega hits “Steve McQueen,” “Soak Up the Sun,” and “Everyday Is a Winding Road.”
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit played the hits, the Drive-By Truckers’ covers, and a Fleetwood Mac cover. The number one moment of the evening was Mercy Rose Isbell, the daughter of Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell, making an appearance to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to the crowd of 5,000+ people. She then proceeded to dance the rest of the set on stage while her parents performed and danced with her. Isbell later described the evening as the “best day ever” in an instagram post. Isbell has already confirmed that there will be another Shoals Fest next year, since this year was so incredible.
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit Shoals Fest setlist:
Hope the High Road
Overseas (new song)
Something More Than Free
Last of My Kind
Flying Over Water
If We Were Vampires
Tour of Duty
Maybe It’s Time
White Man’s World
Cover Me Up
Never Gonna Change (DBT)