Be Afraid

Songfacts®:

  • This energetic rocker finds Jason Isbell encouraging people to be themselves, even if it frightens them to do so.

    Be afraid, be very afraid
    But do it anyway
    Do it anyway


    Isbell explained to Austin City Limits Live that he's trying to inspire his listeners "to be themselves as loudly as possible."

    He added: "I don't know if I'm in any position to do that but I think if we're going to make any progress as a society then people have to be brave enough to say what they feel."
  • Opening with an ominous guitar riff, the track is one of the more boisterous recorded by Isbell. The singer laid the track down with his longtime backing band, the 400 Unit, at Nashville's RCA Studio A.
  • Dave Cobb helmed the track; Isbell has worked with the Nashville producer since his 2013 Southeastern album. Cobb's resume also includes a collaboration with Lady Gaga ("Always Remember Us This Way") and two records with Chris Stapleton (Traveller and From A Room: Vol. 1).
  • Jason Isbell was angry when he wrote this withering commentary on artists who are afraid to speak their mind. He explained to Apple Music:

    "I felt like I stick my neck out and I think a lot of us recording artists end up sticking our neck out pretty often to talk about what we think is right. And then, you turn around and see a whole community of singers and entertainers who just keep their mouth shut. I mean, it's not up to me to tell somebody how to go about their business, but I think if you have a platform and you're somebody who is trying to make art, then I think it's impossible to do that without speaking your mind.

    For me, it's important to stay mindful of the fact that there are a lot of people in this world that don't have any voice at all and nobody is paying any attention to what they're complaining about and they have some real valid complaints."

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