When Best Americana Album and Best American Roots Song winner Jason Isbell, along with his band, all donned symbolic white roses at the 2018 Grammy Awards, he made sure to back up the gesture with words that proved solidarity.

"I think it's important for everybody to use their voice," Isbell said backstage at Madison Square Garden. "I think it's important for everybody to try to change things for the better. What we do, it's not just for entertainment."

Isbell made a pointed comment regarding the state of country music, as well: "If I had my druthers, I would rather people be consuming the music as an activity rather than having it on in the background while they get ready for a sporting event or riding around in the mud or something like that," he said. "I want them to be listening. If that's the kind of music you're trying to make ... I'm not saying it's better or worse, but I think you have a responsibility to be honest about the things that you believe."

He also made sure to address the inequality rampant in the music industry today. "All the art that we are making and all the music that we're creating would be better if everyone had an equal voice," he explains, "no matter their gender or their race."

He added another sharply directed comment at Nashville: "I think it's a really important thing that country music doesn't necessarily talk about as much as the other genres do.

"We just have to keep talking about it, keep on talking about it, just like all the issues that we're dealing with right now on a cultural and societal level," he says. "If we keep having these conversations and quit ignoring things like inequality, then I think they'll find a way to work themselves out. Hopefully it won't take another thousands years, but we'll see."

The 60th annual Grammy Awards were held Jan. 28 in New York City.

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