Drive By Truckers have single handedly re-introduced Southern Rock to a new generation. But they mix it with bits of Soul, Blues, Folk and Metal. What I particularly like about DBT is they always have three singers and songwriters in the band. This gives each album a degree of variety and a healthy competition amongst the songwriters. While Patterson Hood is their leader and main songwriter, co-founder Mike Cooley is my favourite. His deep voice, dry wit and wonderfully descriptive lyrics have some wonderful characters in them. Finally, there is Jason Isbell, who came late and left early. But his time in the band co-incided with their best albums, his leaving co-incides with their slump into mediocrity. I prefer his three solo albums to those later DBT releases.
Drive By Truckers take a love of Lynyrd Skynyrd and lots of guitars, a tradition of telling stories (like Springsteen), and make an unloved genre of music sound cool. One great thing about DBT is their attention to detail. Every album comes with wonderful art work and detailed lyric books. Now you don't get all that in a download!
Some Rare Stuff
Due to their prolific work rate at releasing albums and the lack of Singles these days, Drive By Truckers haven't really got many rarities lying around. Most the ones they had ended up on the 'Fine Print' collection. Here's what didn't:
Before DBT there was Adam's House Cat, which featured Cooley and Hood. There album was never officially released, but there are versions available....if you know where to look.
The itunes deluxe (US only! *$!@*%?) version of Go Go Boots features 2 bonus tracks: "When I Ran Off I Left Her", a Vic Chesnutt cover & "I Hear You Hummin".
A Bonus EP that came with the album includes these songs and some live songs (only available from Independent Record Shops).
Girls Who Smoke (Vinyl bonus track on Big To Do). Now available as a free download via the DBT website. And it's a great fast rocker!
"Your Woman Is A Livin' Thing"/"Just Maybe" (2010)
Record Shop Day Vinyl Only Release!
Patterson Hood has released three solo albums. The first is acoustic, basic and hard work. The latter is more like the DBT stuff and even features some of the band! But, it is the third album "Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance" (2012), that I would recommend - it's better than recent DBT releases by far.
Tracks like "12:01" and "(untold pretties)" - are haunting, thought provoking, and full of his usual poetic images - and they are just great songs. But the whole album is a surprising treat, after a few years of mediocrity. Maybe Jason Isbell has made him up his game......?
Where to start? As an introduction to The Drive By Truckers I'd recommend my Favourite TWO DBT albums: Dirty South and Decoration Day
Jason Isbell solo rarities:
Bonus digital tracks on the deluxe version of Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit.:
When My Baby's Beside Me
The Blue (Acoustic)
Cigarettes And Wine (Acoustic)
"Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out" Preservation Hall Jazz Band featuring Jason Isbell - on the Album To Benefit Preservation Hall,
'Everywhere With Helicopter' - Guided By Voices tribute album.