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Drive-By Truckers

Boasting a mix of Southern pride, erudite lyrics, and a muscled three-guitar attack, Drive-By Truckers became one of the most well-respected alternative country-rock acts of the 2000s. Led by frontman Patterson Hood and featuring a rotating cast of Georgia and Alabama natives, the band celebrated the South while refusing to paint over its spotty past. History, folklore, politics, and character studies all shared equal space in the Truckers catalog, which offered up its first blast of gutsy, twangy rock with 1998's Gangstabilly. However, it was the band's ambitious double-disc concept album, The Southern Rock Opera, that became its unlikely magnum opus. A two-act affair, the album explored Hood's fascination with '70s Southern rock (specifically Lynyrd Skynyrd) while tackling the cultural contradictions of the region, and it helped lay the groundwork for much of the band's later work.

In 1985, college friends Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood (whose father, David Hood, was a Muscle Shoals session player who played bass on the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There") formed a punk-inspired band named Adam's House Cat. The group split up six years later, and Cooley and Hood launched several follow-up projects before moving to different cities. They eventually returned to Athens, Georgia, where they formed Drive-By Truckers in 1996. Gangstabilly announced the band's official debut in 1998, and the follow-up album Pizza Deliverance saw Cooley emerging as a strong songwriter in his own right. (The contrast between Cooley and Hood's songs, as well as those compositions written by bandmembers Rob Malone, Shonna Tucker, and Jason Isbell, would soon prove to be one of the Truckers' biggest strengths.) In 2000, the band documented its strength as a live act with Alabama A** Whuppin', a concert recording taken from a show in Athens.

The vision for Drive-By Truckers' heralded rock opera took shape as Hood began to address his own Southern roots. Recorded during a September heat wave in Birmingham, Alabama -- and boasting the band's three-guitar attack (à la Skynyrd) -- the album veered from nervy, powerful rock & roll to a bruised, jagged tone that recalled Neil Young & Crazy Horse. It was also an underground success, receiving a four-star rating from Rolling Stone and catching the ear of roots rock label Lost Highway, which reissued the album in 2002. Unfortunately for the label, many people who would otherwise have purchased the album already owned a copy; unfortunately for the Truckers, they were released from their contract just as their first album for Lost Highway was finished. After several months of between-label limbo, the band was picked up by New West Records, a Texas-based label that released Decoration Day in mid-2003. The album featured several songs by newcomer Jason Isbell, a young singer/guitarist who had replaced Rob Malone two years prior.

Tour dates and further lineup changes followed the album's release, with bassist Earl Hicks departing and studio musician Shonna Tucker (who was also Isbell's wife) climbing aboard to join Hood, Cooley, Isbell, and drummer Brad Morgan. The new lineup made its debut on 2004's The Dirty South, a concept album that spun Southern tales of small towns, violent sheriffs, and legendary record producers. A concert DVD, Live at the 40 Watt: August 27 & 28, 2004, arrived in 2005, followed one year later by Isbell's final album with the group, A Blessing and a Curse. In light of Isbell's decision to quit the band in favor of a solo career, pedal steel guitarist John Neff officially joined in 2007, having contributed to several Drive-By Truckers albums in the past. Brighter Than Creation's Dark introduced the revised lineup in 2008; additionally, it showcased Shonna Tucker's abilities as a songwriter, marking the first time that any of her contributions had appeared on record. Drive-By Truckers returned to the road that summer to support the record's release.

Although the band remained on tour well into 2009, the Truckers also found time to release their second concert album, Live from Austin TX, as well as a collection of unreleased material entitled The Fine Print: A Collection of Oddities and Rarities. Patterson Hood rounded out the year by recording his second solo record, Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs), and gathering his bandmates back together after its release for another round of recording sessions. Two albums resulted from those sessions, 2010's The Big To-Do and 2011's Go-Go Boots, both of which were released by ATO Records, and featured the group's new keyboard player, Jay Gonzalez, who also contributed to Hood's third solo effort, 2012's Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance. Meanwhile, New West Records combed through the band's first decade of material to help compile Ugly Buildings, Whores, and Politicians: Greatest Hits 1998-2009, which marked the band's final release for New West in August 2011. In 2012, Mike Cooley followed Hood's lead with his debut solo effort, The Fool on Every Corner, drawn from a pair of solo acoustic performances. Returning to the studio in 2013 with longtime producer David Barbe, the group (now a five-piece with the departure of John Neff and the addition of new bassist Matt Patton, who replaced Tucker after she left for a solo career) opted for a stripped-back sound for its 12th album, 2014's English Oceans. ~ Andrew Leahey & Erik Hage, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Everybody Needs Love (Radio Single)

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Track List: Pauline Hawkins (Single)

Comments

DBT is such an incredible band. Nothing else can compare. Cooley is the man!!!
ya gotta see em live! Jesus it is loud and fun as hell!!!! Just don't stand too close two Cooley's amp and you may retain your hearing...
This is 1 of those bands that I'll never understand how they're not huge...they have soooo much talent & soooo many great songs ....it's almost criminal that u never hear them on the radio
I saw Jason Isbell band Saturday night with Holly Williams as warm up. Hollys' singing was very fine and she is a very fine looking woman, in this reviewers' eyes. Jason was very good and his wife, the fiddler, is a looker too.
Agreed Cooley has some awesome songs too
Cooley Rules!
Jason really needs to get back in the group ...his songs are definitely some of their best
That last album they came out with "Go Go Boots" was definitely subpar & I'm a HUGE DBT fan..oh well..they have plenty of excellent 1's
.
Great show in Steamboat Springs last night, thanks Truckers
webersf
DBT is a mighty fine band
DBT comin' to Boulder, CO!!! Start the party NOW.
Decoration Day is one of my Favorites of all time.
shanexsmith
I too saw them in Portland, Maine and I thought they were fantastic.
martin.j.gro h m a n
Saw DBT in Portland Maine recently. They were off their game.
trinitydoaz
Rock and roll can't help but ruin a young boys life.
F**k ya. Making money you can't spend ain't what being deads about
dont read this because it actually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. tomorrow will be the best day of your life. however if you do not post this comment to at least 3 songs you will die in 2 days. now you've started reading this so don't stop. this is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in at least 143 minutes when if done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is scary cause it actually works
bruceskieet
dont read this because it actually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. tomorrow will be the best day of your life. however if you do not post this comment to at least 3 songs you will die in 2 days. now you've started reading this so don't stop. this is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in at least 143 minutes when if done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is scary cause it actually works
29 days ag
Why oh why is there no mention of Southern Rock Opera here?
Drive by Truckers never wrote a bad song...
Drive-By Truckers kick a**! No other band comes close.
jahsprinter
DBT=GREAT MUSIC! Haters get "buried in the ol' sinkhole".
DBT rules. Great on cd, 10 times better live. Go see them if you possibly can. Mainstream radio won't play them, I guess they don't blend in with everyone else. I hope that they never do, that's what makes them awesome!
dbt is the greatest band ever..period .
the drive by truckers sound like the drive by truckers..PE R I O D . not skynyrd or niel young ..they are a piece of Magic & ART . they have lived these stories they tell ..the more you listen to them the more you wanna listen ....
Hayes Carll is not similar.Dude is overrated. Drive By Truckers Rule!
www.natall.c o m Reclaim whats yours!
dhufsey
Excellent .. many thanks to Pandora for introducing me to this great band
this song rocks sounds like a cross between lynyrd skynyrd and the eagles with a modern twist... i love these guys
They are a great band!
Not too bad.
stormntwang
Why don't you mention that Mike Cooley's grandfather was the great Western Swing bandleader Spade Cooley?
bohica762
I been a fan of these boys, and girl for years. Go see them in concert!
putneys419
OMG, DBT is FNA.
angelakloepf e r
omg, i love these guys so much!!!! they totally turn me on!!!
uhhh well since jason left iv heard a few goodsongs but just not the same band the steel player is not the same as slide hood writes a ton of songs but not all of them are record worthy last two records are very lackluster
Love, love, love these guys...kind of reminds me of Neil Young and Blues Traveler, which equals greatness!
one of the best american rock bands who are working now...
Some damn fine southern alt roots rock---I wished I had found them earlier than just now "coming to the party"--but I guess its better late then never as they say!!
the best
kwking.gwdc
I'm alway telling my 21yr old Sooner to check them out!
Love these people!
THX! Deco. day it is!
love truckers
thomas.tharr i n g t o n
All of them. Though I started my tour with Southern Rock Opera
I agree Decoration Day. Jason Isbell is something else
john6353
Start out with Decoration Day.
Hey, I am really getiung into theses guys, but have not bought a cd yet. If I were to buy a DBT cd which is the best to start with? Thanks.
There are 2 sides of the South and real Southerners live in both. Besides being one of the all-time great American bands, these boys have shown that everyone born south of the Mason-Dixon line aren't one massive cliche.
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