Who the hell are the Drive-By Truckers? Five big, loud Southern Men. 4 from Alabama, 1 from South Carolina, 3 of whom now reside in Athens, GA; 1 in Birmingham, AL; and 1 in Center Star, AL (just outside of Muscle Shoals).
Hit the road in 1998, played over 400 shows in 2 1/2 years while recording and releasing (independently) 3 albums. Took six months off to fight, mix and raise the money to release their 4th album. Put out Southern Rock Opera themselves (September 12,2001) and hit the road again, playing over 250 shows in 14 months. Was one of the few independent bands in recent memory to receive a 4-star review from Rolling Stone.
Signed with Lost Highway Records in May of 2002 (Southern Rock Opera re-released on major label July 2002) but parted ways and signed on with New West in 2003.
Recorded their new album Decoration Day in Athens, GA with producer David Barbe. (Coming June 17th, 2003 from New West Records)
Sometimes referred to as DBT.
Mike Cooley plays guitar and sings. He grew up in Tuscumbia, AL (where Helen Keller came from). As a boy, he took guitar lessons from bluegrass legend Al Lester and saw Carl Perkins play The Hayloft Opry. Formed Adam's House Cat with Patterson Hood in 1985. Plays really cheap beat up guitars, and tears them up when they act up. Don't act up.
Earl Hicks plays bass. He produced 2 of DBT's albums before joining the band in 2000. He grew up in Florence, AL (as did W.C. Handy). He is an avid wine drinker. He is sometimes known as Bird Dog. He has an acute sense of smell and his doppelganger is a dead man.
Patterson Hood plays guitar and sings. He began writing songs when he was 8 and has written over 3000 songs. Most of the first 2000 suck. He is a very stubborn man and the poster child for persistence. His father, David Hood, is a session musician from Muscle Shoals AL. He played on "I'll Take You There" by The Staple Singers as well as songs by Bobby Womack, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Bob Seger, and Willie Nelson. Spent much of his childhood on a farm in McGee Town, AL, just down the road from where Sam Phillips grew up.
Jason Isbell plays guitar and sings. He is from Green Hill, AL. At 24, he is somewhat younger than the rest of the band. He joined the band in the fall of 2001 on half a day's notice and learned the show on stage in Norman OK. 2 days later he wrote the title cut for their new album "Decoration Day".
Brad Morgan plays drums. He would not be caught dead playing congas. He would not be caught dead in a band with a saxophone. He hates saxophones. He comes from Greenville, SC. where Lynyrd Skynyrd played their last show before the plane crash. He looks swell in a bathrobe.
One of the best goddamned Rock and Roll Bands you'll ever see.
Enough about the band, let's talk about the recordů
Decoration Day is the day many southern churches set aside to place flowers on the graves of their departed loved ones. DBT's Decoration Day is 15 songs about the choices people make (good and bad) and their repercussions. The resulting album is an ambitious mix of the full-on "three guitar ROCK" that the band so prominently displayed on Southern Rock Opera and the more "countryish" elements from their earlier albums. The album features guest appearances from Muscle Shoals legend Spooner Oldham on the Wurlitzer Electric Piano, singer Clay Leverett, and fiddles from Centro-Matic's Scott Danbom. John Neff returns to play Pedal Steel on several cuts. (He had played on DBT's first two albums).
"The Deeper In" tells the sad story of the only two people currently serving time in America for consensual brother/sister incest.
"Sink Hole" is a first person account of a farmer losing his farm. It is a hard rocking number that has been a crowd-pleaser live for some time.
Living and nearly dying on the road gets a good thrashing in the angry "Hell No, I Ain't Happy". "My Sweet Annette" tells of a young girl being stood up at the altar. The Truckers, however, chose to tell the story from the boy's point of view.
"Marry Me" comes on like a Stones-ish love song, but nothing is as it seems.
"Outfit" was a Fathers Day present Jason wrote for his Dad, based on advice he had given him on how to live right.
A lot of the songs deal with the personal fallout from the years the band spent on the road and its affect on everyone's family life.
"Heathens," "Sounds Better in the Song" and "Give Pretty Soon" deal in heartbreaking bluntness with relationships on the brink of disintegration.
"Your Daddy Hates Me" takes it one step further and deals with the hurtful fallout of divorce.
"Pin Hits the Shell" and "Do It Yourself" sing about the suicide of a close friend from two very different points of view.
"Decoration Day," the title cut tells of a family feud, in which all sides lose.
The album ends with Cooley's beautiful "Loaded Gun in the Closet" which paints a detailed portrait of a marriage that continues on long after the new has worn out. In it, the woman goes about her seemingly mundane work of the day amid temptations to break away and escape. In the end, the gun stays in the closet and everyone lives to go on another day.