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Jason Isbell and Ben Folds are your new faces of the “unhinged, angry left”

Isbell, former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, and Folds
Photo: Jason Kempin (Getty Images)

Look out, conservative America! The rising tide of the political left just got itself two new champions and they’ve got lots of experience tearing down the pillars of tyranny with their (checks notes) heartfelt acoustic ballads and piano rock anthems. That’s right! As reported by The Washington Post, Jason Isbell (Drive-By Truckers, The 400 Unit) and Ben Folds (Ben Folds Five) are the new faces of the “unhinged, angry left.” At least, according to a Republican Senate nominee who clearly didn’t bother researching who they were.


Hours before the two musicians were set to headline a fundraiser for former Tennessee governor and Democratic Senate hopeful Phil Bredesen, the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent out an email to their supporters with the subject line, “Phony Phil partners with the unhinged left.” Apparently, all you have to do to be perceived as unhinged these days is to write some catchy songs about the struggles of working-class Americans or describe how intensely you’ve been rocking the suburbs. It’s quite a ways from the unhinged right, which, you know, commits hate crimes.

But, to be fair, it’s not like Isbell and Folds are completely detached from politics. They’re both vocal supporters of left-leaning, anti-Trump campaigns, and Isbell in particular has never been afraid to go toe-to-toe with angry conservatives online. That might explain why, after the NRSC statement was released, Isbell took to Twitter and fully embraced the label of “unhinged.”


He even joked about the statement during the fundraiser Monday night, saying, “I feel so hinged, for the first time in my life I’m hinged. This is as hinged as I get…I’m hinged as hell!”


He then went on to brazenly put on an entertaining show for a packed room of supportive fans. So much for the tolerant left.


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About the author

Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.