Watch Jason Isbell & Allison Russell’s Joyous ‘Keep On Smilin’’ Cover At ‘Love Rising’

The pair teamed up to play the Wet Willie song at last night’s all-star benefit in Nashville.

By Andy Kahn Mar 21, 2023 11:32 am PDT

As reported, an all-star cast of musicians came together Monday night at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for the “Love Rising” charity concert with proceeds benefiting pro-LGBTQ+ organizations Tennessee Equality Project, inclusion tennessee, OUTMemphis and The Tennessee Pride Chamber. Allison Russell and Jason Isbell came together to collaborate on a cover of “Keep On Smilin’” by Wet Willie.

Isbell and Russell were joined by a backing band that included keyboardist Elenna Canlas, a string section made up of Sista Strings – cellist Monique Ross and violinist Chauntee Ross – and cellist Larissa Maestro, bassist Ryan Madora, drummer Megan Coleman, guitarists Mandy Fer and Megan McCormick and others.

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Isbell also collaborated at “Love Rising” with his wife, Amanda Shires, performing her song “Take It Like A Man” and his own “Cover Me Up.” Russell was active throughout the all-star benefit concert, which saw additional performances by Hozier, Sheryl Crow, Hayley Williams, Brittany Howard, Maren Morris, Yola, Julien Baker, Joy Oladokun, Ruby Amanfu, Shea Diamond and others. The Highwomen (minus Brandi Carlile and Natalie Hemby) led most of the participants through “Crowded Table” while being joined by local Nashville drag performers.

Russell sang Mavis Staples’ parts on “Nina Cried Power” with Hozier, led a cover of Alicia Keys’ “A Beautiful Noise” with Ruby Amanfu and Shea Diamond, and came onstage for “Crowded Table” and the “We Are Family” finale with the other participants.

Recorded as the title track for Wet Willie’s 1974 studio album, “Keep On Smilin’” was among the Southern rock outfit’s best-known hits. For the “Love Rising” cover, Isbell altered the lyrics from “Yeah, you’re about to go insane / Cause your woman’s playing games” to “Yeah, you’re about to go insane / State of Tennessee’s playing games.”

Watch Jason Isbell and Allison Russell cover “Keep On Smilin’” below:


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Tristessa Luetkemeyer (See 2 videos)
Jason Isbell (See 96 videos) and Allison Russell (See 17 videos)

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