Dress Blues

Album: Jekyll + Hyde (2015)
  • This woeful, poignant tune was written by Jason Isbell as a tribute to a former schoolmate who was killed in the line of duty during the Iraq War. "I was coming off a tour with the [Drive By] Truckers, and I called my mom, and she told me about his funeral, which she'd attended that day," Isbell recalled. "When I got home, I wrote 'Dress Blues' in [the] time it takes to write it down on a piece of paper. I already had the chord progression from a song [I'd] been working on about Mickey Rooney, of all things. The song just fit that tune."

    Isbell's original version can be found on his 2007 Sirens of the Ditch album.
  • Zac Brown Band covered the song for their Jekyll + Hyde album. Their version received its TV premiere on March 30, 2015, during the band's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
  • Zac Brown explained to Country Countdown USA's Lon Helton why they covered the tune. "Every record we do, we do one song we didn't write," he said. "This is that song. It was written by Jason Isbell, it was on a record he did 10 years ago, and it floored me. I just wanted to show the world this song, do it our way, and I arranged a version of 'Taps' in the middle of the song. I've been to military funerals, and when they played 'Taps,' it just killed me."

    "This song is about a young soldier who got blown up by an IED, and he's going home in his dress blues," Brown continued. "Just the way this song is written, how American it is, is incredible."
  • Alaska-born singer-songwriter Jewel contributed harmony vocals to the song.


Be the first to comment...

Maria MuldaurSongwriter Interviews

The "Midnight At The Oasis" singer is an Old Time gal. She talks about her jug band beginnings and shares a Dylan story.

The End Of The Rock EraSong Writing

There are no more rock stars - the last one died in 1994.

Album Cover InspirationsSong Writing

Some album art was at least "inspired" by others. A look at some very similar covers.

Producer Ron NevisonSong Writing

Ron Nevison explains in very clear terms the Quadrophenia concept and how Heart staged their resurgence after being dropped by their record company.

Carol KayeSongwriter Interviews

A top session musician, Carol played on hundreds of hits by The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Frank Sinatra and many others.

Is That Song Public Domain?Fact or Fiction

Are classic songs like "Over The Rainbow" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the public domain?