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New Jason Isbell Documentary Gives Peek at His Musical Process: Watch the Trailer

People 3/23/2023 Wendy Geller

HBO's Running with Our Eyes Closed takes fans into the studio — and the struggles — of the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter

HBO Jason Isbell © Provided by People HBO Jason Isbell

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Jason Isbell's new documentary is giving fans an inside look at both his professional and private lives, and how they relate to his creativity.

In the HBO Original documentary Jason Isbell: Running with Our Eyes Closed, debuting April 7 and also streaming on HBO Max, the multiple Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter gets transparent about the struggles he faced while creating his 2020 album Reunions.

In a trailer released Wednesday, Isbell offers up raw thoughts on the creative process, and how nailing the perfect take can be a fleeting exercise. "Once you write a song, your mind isn't focused on creating, your mind is focused on re-creating," he explains.

"You can only create something once and if the tape's not rolling, you're just s--- out of luck."

HBO Jason Isbell © Provided by People HBO Jason Isbell

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He also allows a peek at his unique relationship with wife and fellow Grammy-awarded musician Amanda Shires, who often serves as his collaborator and creative partner and isn't shy about giving him honest feedback on his work.

In a poignant scene, Shires encourages her husband to just "sing whatever you want, and then think about it later," to which Isbell argues, "No, I want to get it right."

"So you're fighting with all these voices in your head," Shire muses.

"Most people don't go to work with their wife," Isbell notes.

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In addition to the blurred lines between his professional and personal life, "When I have a hard day I can't just go home and have a drink," Isbell, who has been sober for a decade. "There's no escape for me."

HBO Jason Isbell © Provided by People HBO Jason Isbell

While the documentary is centered on the making of Reunions, which he recorded with his band The 400 Unit, it also touches on Isbell's childhood memories and his years with former band the Drive-By Truckers.

Running with Our Eyes Closed was directed and produced by Sam Jones and executive produced by brothers Mark and Jay Duplass.

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Isbell and The 400 Unit are set to release their latest album, Weathervanes, on June 9.

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