Drive By Truckers - Live From Austin ( New West Rec )

Others may point to their kick-ass rock and roll sound and solid musicianship, but what stands out for me when I listen to Drive By Truckers are the songs. Stylistically the Truckers weave a little bit of punk along with old time country, pop, and R&B into their rock sound, but whichever muse they happen to follow, "they let the songwriting speak for itself" aas Rolling Stone wrote, " and it sings loud and clear". As founding member Patterson Hood says, "Inter-connected themes explored by three different writers in the band ( with three very different points of view ) has always been a hallmark of what sets our band apart".

Terry Lichona

Longtime friends Patterson Hood (son of famed Muscle Shoals bassist David Hood) and Mike Cooley first came together in 1985 to form a punk inspired band called Adam’s House Cat. The group disbanded several years later, and Cooley and Patterson formed several follow-up projects before moving to different cities. They eventually reconvened in Athens, GA where the duo formed the Drive-By Truckers circa 1996. The band debuted Gangstabilly in 1998, followed closely by Pizza Deliverence. DBT showed its force as a live act with the release of Alabama Ass Whoopin’ in 2000, a live concert recording taken from a show in Athens, GA. Then the band really took a step forward with the double-disc concept album Southern Rock Opera, released in 2002 by Lost Highway and recorded during a heat wave in Birmingham, AL. In 2003 the Drive-By Truckers were picked up by New West Records and released Decoration Day, which featured songs from newcomer guitarist/singer Jason Isbell (also from Muscle Shoals). Hood, Cooley and Isbell all three served as songwriters and front men for their following two critically acclaimed releases, 2004’s The Dirty South and 2006’s A Blessing and a Curse.

2007 was a year of transition and reinvention for the band, who had been on the road almost constantly since the fall of 2001. After a break to recharge, and the amicable and mutual departure of Jason Isbell from the group, the band was forced to move on and rethink things. This “led us to strip everything down to the essential elements of song and rebuild it from scratch. This led to us booking and playing a semi-acoustic tour we named The Dirt Underneath where we would go out without all of the trappings and decorations of “The Big Rock Show” and put the emphasis on the songs and stories. It also gave us a chance to acquaint everyone with our dear friend John Neff. Neff was a founding member of our band who continued to play on our albums from time to time and he became a full-time part of the touring band a couple of years ago,” said Hood. The new DBT, along with Muscle Shoals legend Spooner Oldham, were called upon to back up Betty LaVette on her 2007 release The Scene of the Crime. This led to Oldham joining the band for The Dirt Underneath Tour, and eventually recording with DBT for their excellent January 2008 release Brighter Than Creations Dark.