Features The Drive By Truckers

After their latest album, Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, debuted last week at #37 on the Billboard Top-200 album chart the mighty dbts seem to have caught the attention of the recording establishment’s powers that be. In this article on Patterson Hood discusses the new release, his family life with the new baby and his less then attentive work ethic.

From the article – “I used to write real prolifically, and just being so busy on the road, and being at home with the kid running around, I [wasn’t as prolific],” said Hood, the band’s gregarious co-founder. “I definitely still write in bursts, but the bursts were shorter and further apart.”

But something clicked over the break. Hood shotgunned out around 50 songs over six months, and Cooley produced nine of his own (“an ungodly number for him,” Hood laughs). Better yet, the burst came at a fortunate time: the band got “really, really attached to working with Spooner Oldham” on the LaVette record. “We said, ‘We gotta get him to do (ours),'” Hood said.

MySpace Showcase – Jessie Lee Miller

I haven’t done a showcase in a while but this gal came across my radar and I had to get something out there on her. Jessie Lee Miller sounds like Patsy Cline raised by gypsies and sent out to play USO shows with Bob Hope for the boys. Trail dust mixed with cafe smoke. Nice stuff. Check this spunky Austin gal out!


Brighter Than Creation’s Dark debuts at #37 on the Billboard Top-200

No Depression reports that the new Drive By Truckers release Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, debuted this week at #37 on the Billboard Top-200 album chart. The album also enters the Billboard indie chart at #6, its internet chart at #6, and the digital chart at #12. Not too shabby for a bunch of hillbillies with a funny name.

In other dbt news the Truckers will be playing the 2008 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival along with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Featuring T Bone Burnett, My Morning Jacket, The Allman Brothers Band, Iron and Wine and Willie Nelson.

Texas Invades New York!!! Dale Watson and Wayne “The Train” Hancock

New York City Twangers, head over the the always excellent Rodeo Bar (try the mole!) on Saturday, February 9th for the Texas troubadour himself, Dale Watson.

Dale will then be dropping in the equally delicious Hill Country Barbecue on Sunday, February 10th.

Sorry ya’ll, Dale canceled his shows with no follow up plans as of right now.

And on March, 13 at the Rodeo Bar the great honky-tonk hero Wayne “The Train” Hancock will be sharing the bill with great J.B. Beverly & the Wayward Drifters.

Both show will be great and better yet, both are FREE!!!

Jason Isbell Has Equipment Stolen in San Fransisco

I just got wind that just before after a gig in San Fransisco Jason Isbell and his band 400 Unit had their instruments stolen. Then his drummer abruptly quit and his label (New West) flew in Son Volt’s drummer and bought new equipment. The band are rehearsing and hope to continue on with their tour Wednesday in Portland.

From Isbell’s MySpace:

Touring Misfortunes

Dear fans and friends,

Leading up to the California shows, Jason had been under the weather with the flu. As the cold worsened, it became apparent that, in the best interest of Jason’s health, Jason and the 400 Unit would not be able to play Vault 350 in Long Beach.

Having taken a day off to recuperate, Jason and the 400 Unit regained positive momentum with great fan support in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It was after the San Francisco show that life threw its next unexpected punch.

On the morning of Monday, January 28, the guys discovered that their van had been forcibly broken into and that much of their gear had been stolen, including four guitars, a drum kit, an accordion, and a laptop computer. Considering the technical and emotional deflation that they experienced, the guys were left with no choice but to cancel the scheduled in-store performance at Dimple and evening show at Harlow’s in Sacramento.

Now, with a repaired van window, replacement gear on the way, and Portland, Oregon on the horizon, Jason and the 400 Unit continue to forage ahead.

For the canceled shows and appearances we sincerely apologize, and we greatly appreciate your understanding. As Jason and the 400 Unit roll into your hometown, greet them with cheers and energy, as your undying support will be vital to their success in this otherwise trying time.

I’ll post more as I hear it.

Review – Drive By Truckers: Brighter Than Creation’s Dark (New West) 01.22.08

As anyone who has read this blog for more than 10 minutes knows I’m a big Drive By Truckers fan. I believe that the Truckers’ break out double-disc “Southern Rock Opera” nearly single-handedly saved the Southern rock genre from the trash heap of cultural irrelevance and slapped the snarky sneer off rock snobs everywhere. I came to the party late by picking up 2004’s “Dirty South” and was hooked immediately by the gritty and vivid rendered tales of lives lived between the moral cracks of the rural South. Populist music dealing with real people confronting challenges and rejoicing in everyday wonders – whether country, folk, punk or rap- hinges on authenticity. As the saying goes, if you can fake authenticity you’ve got it made.

Fans, not people just genre slumming or chasing fashion, but fans willing to put in the work to care and listen, can pick up the stink of a poser a mile away. Whether on their records or from the stage of one of their scorching Jack-Daniels-soaked-never-ending-tours, the Truckers definitely walk the walk, and “Brighter Than Creation’s Dark” is a testament to that labor.

Primed from playing as the backing band for the Great Lady of Soul Bettye LaVette on her Muscle Shoals produced “At the Scene of the Crime” and the first post Jason Isbell departure release is a daunting 70 minute 19 song epic. Patterson Hood does what he does best by spinning yarns of post-death domestic bliss (the banjo tinged “Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife”) and paternal self-medication ( “Daddy Needs a Drink” complete with new/old band member John Neff’s floating pedal steel and Spooner Oldham’s master organ work)

Hood also tackles what passes as a Drive By Truckers anti-war songs with “The Man I Shot” and “The Home Front” by telling the tales from young soldier with fresh blood on his hands and a military wife left at home with her two-year-old. Hood also addresses current chemical scourge of Middle-America working class with “You and Your Crystal Meth”done in a cadence reminiscent of his live performances of Bruce Springteen’s “State Trooper.” “Goode’s Field Road” is a amped-up tale of a man done good / gone bad with soaked in a swampy wah-pedal voodoo-vibe.

Mike Cooley brings the goods with the fuzzed-out “3 Dimes Down” which sounds like a lost track from Exile on Main Street. “Perfect Timing” and “Lisa’s Bithday” are straight-up country tunes with the former as a shuffle featuring awesome guitar picking and the latter a pedal-steel celebration of bad girls.

The real surprise here is the singing debut of bassist Shonna Tucker who, after appearing on two previous releases steps up to the mic ad does an admirable job stepping into the big boots left by her outgoing ex-husband (Isbell) as third vocalist. Tucker’s voice is without artifice and can sound both road-weary and vulnerable reminding me of Sammi Smith’s with its purity. “I’m Sorry Huston” and “Home Field Advantage” give Tucker lots of room to stretch out and show the gals got what it takes.

With 19 songs not all of them will be gems but my MO is to celebrate the greatness of music and not dwell on what I consider lesser works or show what a clever prick I can be. All the dbt elements are here. Masterful tales of the down and out and the blazing guitar work all served up with a dark sense of humor and a helping side of Southern menace.

“Brighter Than Creation’s Dark” will be in stores (and download) CD and 2 Record Set Vinyl on Tuesday January 22, 2008 (Monday January 21, 2008 in Europe).

Track Listing:
1. Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife (mp3)
2. Three Dimes Down
3. The Righteous Path
4. I’m Sorry Huston
5. Perfect Timing
6. Daddy Needs a Drink
7. Self Destructive Zones
8. Bob
9. Home Field Advantage
10. Opening Act
11. Lisa’s Birthday
12. The Man I Shot
13. Purgatory Line
14. The Home Front
15. Check Out Time In Vegas
16. You and Your Crystal Meth
17. Goode’s Field Road
18. A Ghost To Most
19. Monument Valley

Review – Chicowater: Country Pajamas

Baltimore, Maryland’s Chicowater‘s newest release “Country Pajamas” echoes the early gossamer days of pop, country and folk. The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and first 4 album Beatles is spot welded onto a Uncle Tupelo sound that twangs up power-pop and provokes an even impulse to weep and dance.

“Hold on” kick things off with a sound reminiscent of the fledgling Beatles rockabilly era. The energy just flies off the song. The hooks are infectious and the plunder of Ryan William Bender drums are crisp and unrelenting. Sweet mercy what a beginning.

The next cut “Jagged Hearts” a love-gone-wrong pop song riddled with Jason Lee Ashby’s banjo in the vein of a better Fleetwood Mac tune struggling with a serious Southern jones. “Stuck In The Mud” sound like a trudging, lumbering big rock song that it’s name suggests. This is the song you scream the chorus ’til you’re horse and fist pump to at the Chicowater live show.

“December” and “My darling Girl” are minor-chord weepers that channels Ryan Adams at his most heart wrenching with a sweet honey chorus provided by Jeb Stuart Johnston (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica) and Samantha Lee Johnston (upright doghouse and electric basses, vocals), but does Adams one better by not sounding like they deserve being screwed over for being a pretentious prick. “Learn to Let Go is another heart-broken take done as a blistering rave-up sounds like BR5-49 freebasing the Replacements.

“Ballad of a Fighting Man” serves up a great CCR style guitar lick Civil War lament, the trials of lose, war and the cost of memories with blood on your hands. The harmonica laden “Hard Times” sounds strikingly like Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers without the jarring fear-shifts.

This is a great release that shows an honor for tradition as well as the courage to take chances. I hope the band has a long life ahead of them and doesn’t let internal drama and strife tear them assunder as has been reported. We would all be the poorer if that happens.

the Silo’s Drew Glack Passes

From Bloodshot Records – Drew Glackin, a core member of the renowned Silos, passed away on Saturday in New York after succumbing to a thyroid condition. This statement from the band will be followed soon by more information regarding services, memorial benefits and efforts, stories and pictures. All at Bloodshot are very saddened by the loss of our good friend, and extended our sincerest sympathies to his family and close friends.

This from some of those who knew him best:

He was unaware of an overactive thyroid condition that led to severe heart damage. He was surrounded by family and friends during his final days and hours and we are all still in a state of shock and disbelief.

Drew was adored around the world and his larger than life spirit and contagious jovial energy touched everyone he met, everywhere he went. He was a musician of the highest talent and made his mark in countless bands, record albums, and many thousands of live performances. He will be sorely missed and the memories of his music, his
great humor, and his magnanimous generosity of spirit and love will be with us forever.

A fund will be set up to help his family with expenses and we will keep you informed of memorial concerts and events as they develop.

Drive By Truckers Pre-Order Contest

The new release from the Drive By Truckers “Brighter Than Creation’s Dark” drops in a couple of weeks, but you can head over to the DBT site and get a bonus when you pre-order.

You will be entered in a drawing for one of 2 grand prizes to include a signed poster, a gift certificate for $100 of merchandise from the official Drive-By Truckers store and 2 tickets to an upcoming headlining Drive-By Truckers show of your choice. In addition, the first 100 people to purchase the Brighter Than Creations Dark CD & T-shirt bundle will also receive a signed tour poster from the Drive-By Truckers.

Contest ends January 22nd.

Silver Jews Interview –

Pitchfork features an interview with the Silver Jews’ David Berman. Berman discusses the forthcoming new Jews release “Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea” (Originally scheduled for release in April, the album has been pushed back until later in 2008.)

Pitchfork: How has the process of making the new album been going?

David Berman: It’s been really good. I’m real happy about the writing. I’ve never really been completely satisfied with a release. I have always felt like you start to write a song and you can stop where you want to. And I always felt that I didn’t know what would happen if I went on ahead. In a way, I kind of built in delays into the process. I really thought it was going to be done in September, but the other part of my mind knew it would take longer. When I went into the studio, the songs were about half as good as they are now. Just sitting with them for a couple months, I just couldn’t leave them alone and they got better and better. I don’t think I’ll ever stop so early in the songwriting process again.

Silver Jews “I’m Getting Back Into Getting Back Into You”