Originally published in Eleven Magazine
Alt-country darlings Drive-By Truckers are at it again.
Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood keep on truckin’ even after the departure of the much revered guitarist and songwriter Jason Isbell, who is now strumming away on his own critically acclaimed solo career. After 10 studio albums, several live albums, and enough high praise from critics and fans to kill a mule, the band releases their 11th studio record this year and will embark on a new cross-country tour.
Ever since their formation in 1996, the Georgia-based band have been hosted by a litany of record labels, while undergoing enough line-up changes to make you drop your PBR. They’ve finally landed at ATO Records, a great label for all things confederate.
Through the traditional ups and downs of keeping their sound alive, they’ve written well and toured hard to earn the kind of following they have. The band excels at blue-collar blues and ballads, plaid-shirt roots rock and harmonies that focus on storytelling and target the more traditional southern narratives of loaded guns in dresser drawers, poker games gone awry, and mothers abandoning their sons for the comfort of wayward strangers.
This sort of Alabama-rebel sound is boozey and brawling, easy to make friends with, but only if you buy it a drink first. With subtle nods to the greats that came before them, like young Tom Petty or Jay Farrarr, who traditionally do this genre better than most, the Drive-By Truckers stand apart from all of them. Just a band of hard-working guys, rocking and rolling their wheels as far as the whiskey can carry them.
Blitzen Trapper opens the show and deals a similar southern-hand with a bit more groove and funk, an ace or two up their sleeves.