Isbell shared on Twitter yesterday (November 12) that Shires and himself would be turning in their CMA Lifetime Membership cards due to the organization's failure to pay tribute to late country music legends John Prine, Billy Joe Shaver and Jerry Jeff Walker — all of whom passed away this year.
"I doubt anybody will care, but we cared a lot about our heroes," Isbell wrote of the decision.
When asked by a follower whether he considered staying aboard to create change from inside the organization, the songwriter answered, "I feel my energy is best spent elsewhere."
Prine's exclusion from the ceremony had been criticized earlier in the week by Sturgill Simpson, who said, "Its time for this hegemonic horse shit ship to sink" as part of his broader criticism of the organization.
Prine's label, Oh Boy Records, had also written, "While there may be a number of artists who have had more commercial success than John, there are very few who have achieved more artistically."
Today, Isbell has also released a new live album alongside the 400 Unit, captured Live at the Caverns in Pelham, TN. The group are due to kick off a 2021 tour in Vancouver next July.
Due to @CountryMusic's failure to mention John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Billy Joe Shaver at the CMA's last night, @amandashires and I have decided to return our membership cards. I doubt anybody will care, but we cared a lot about our heroes. pic.twitter.com/UmplzD0Z7p— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) November 13, 2020
I feel my energy is best spent elsewhere. https://t.co/2vh2G7b9wK— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) November 13, 2020