Posts Tagged ‘Brad Morgan’

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One of the reasons the Drive-By Truckers have matured into one of America’s finest rock & roll bands is ambition; they’re solid players and write great songs, but just as important, they take storytelling seriously, and when they make an album, they strive to do more than just serve up a bunch of new songs. Most DBT releases aren’t specifically concept albums, but nearly all of them have a thematic consistency in which the individual songs cohere into a larger framework. With this in mind, it makes sense that the band would want to do something more elaborate than the run-of-the-mill live disc, and 2015’s “It’s Great to Be Alive!”, recorded during a three-night stand at the the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, California in the fall of 2014, is an oversized (over three hours on three CDs or five LPs) look at the band’s body of work so far, with a set list that reaches back before the beginning (“Runaway Train” was a tune Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley cut for their pre-DBT band Adam’s House Cat) all the way up to “English Oceans”, the album the group released just a few months before these shows.

The Drive-By Truckers have always prided themselves on a butt-kicking live show, so it’s a bit of a surprise that It’s Great to Be Alive! relies so strongly on dynamics, dialing back the tempo and impact of some of the tunes rather than making this set the full-on blowout some fans would expect. It’s Great to Be Alive! focuses less on the sweat and fire of a live gig than on the songs, as Hood and Cooley draw their portraits of folks trying to make the best of life’s situations, which is often a harder and more desperate task than one would imagine. The relatively subdued attack does make more room for Cooley and Hood’s vocals, and both are in strong voice here, and if these performances are often a bit less finely nuanced than the studio originals, nearly everything here sounds more passionate, and the musicianship is excellent, especially Cooley and Hood’s duelling guitar work, Jay Gonzalez’s keyboards, and Brad Morgan’s drumming, which is endlessly implacable and full of lean, thoughtful groove (if this band has a secret weapon, it’s Morgan).

If It’s Great to Be Alive! doesn’t rock with the usual fury of a Drive-By Truckers live set, the band knows when and where to kick out the jams (especially on the three uptempo Southern Rock Opera numbers on disc three), and this 198-minute marathon leaves no doubt that this constantly evolving band is still growing and shifting and putting new perspectives on its music. It’s Great to Be Alive! is a bit less than the definitive document of the live DBT experience, but if you want to know why this is a great band and how good it can be on-stage, this set will tell you just about everything you need to know.

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Originally released October 30th, 2015

“Go-Go Boots” is the ninth studio album by American rock band Drive-By Truckers, first released February 14, 2011, on Play It Again Sam Records. It was produced by record producer David Barbe and recorded during 2009 to 2010, concurrently with sessions for the band’s previous album The Big To-Do (2010). The Drive-By Truckers are a band that likes to do things the old-fashioned way. They proudly proclaim that they record their music “on glorious two-inch analogue tape,” they still think in terms of albums with two (or four) sides, and their sound is firmly rooted in the traditions of Southern rock and the blues. They also hark back to a time when rock bands made an album every year followed by a tour, and if the DBTs haven’t quite held firm to that schedule, since they broke through with Southern Rock Opera in 2001, they’ve managed to release six studio albums, a live CD/DVD, another DVD-only live set, and a collection of rarities and unreleased tracks, all while keeping up a demanding touring schedule.

Any band that busy is likely to believe it deserves a rest every once in a while, and in a sense, 2011’s “Go-Go Boots” feels a little bit like a working vacation. The album is notably short on full-blown rockers and sounds scaled back from the three-guitar attack that’s been their hallmark, often dominated by acoustic guitars and the muffled but determined report of Brad Morgan’s drums. The songs also find the band going back to the well on themes it has visited before — the man of the Lord with a broad but carefully hidden streak of corruption in The Big To-Do’s “The Wig He Made Her Wear” foreshadowed not one but two songs here, “The Fireplace Poker” and the title track, and the damaged ex-cop of “Used to Be a Cop” feels like a cousin to the haunted war veteran of Brighter Than Creation’s Dark’s “That Man I Shot.” But none of this adds up to an album that’s at all lazy. The craft of Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley’s song writing is as strong as ever, drawing believable characters and giving them lives that make dramatic sense, and Shonna Tucker just keeps getting better with the graceful and hard-edged “Dancin’ Ricky.” And if the music on Go-Go Boots is less physical than what the Drive-By Truckers typically deliver, it’s emphatic and passionate, with an impressive sense of dynamics and as much soul as these folks have ever summoned in the studio — they’ve rocked a lot harder, but they’ve never cut a more natural and telling groove.

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There are moments where Go-Go Boots recalls Exile on Main St., another album that makes much out of feel and the way musicians play off one another, and if this isn’t as likely to be regarded as a masterpiece, it’s also less self-obsessive, and reveals some sides of the Drive-By Truckers the band hasn’t captured in the studio before. After ten years of hard work, the DBTs are still learning, still growing, and still feeling out new ideas, and on Go-Go Boots they show that even when they’re relaxed, they’re still one of America’s best bands.

originally released February 11th, 2011

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The kings of country-rock and outspoken wisdom, Drive-By Truckers, returned this year with their 12th studio album, following 2016’s American Band and the 2018 release of the long-lost Adam’s House Cat album Town Burned Down, which featured Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley recorded before their Truckers days. “The Unraveling” arrives after a prolonged period of writer’s block for Hood and Cooley, easily one of the most impressive song-writing pairs in music’s recent history . On The Unraveling, they pick up right where American Band left off, with searing political commentary and a sharp look at the harsh realities of modern American life. “The past three-and-a-half years were among the most tumultuous our country has ever seen,” Hood said in a press statement, “and the duality between the generally positive state of affairs within our band while watching so many things we care about being decimated and destroyed all around us informed the writing of this album to the core.” And there you have it. It’s a new decade, but the Truckers remain dedicated to the same cause: relaying the truth—no matter how difficult it is to speak—by way of deep-rooted, multifaceted and, perhaps most importantly, southern rock ‘n’ roll.

The longest gap between new Drive by Truckers albums – The Unraveling was recorded at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, TN by Grammy Award-winning engineer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price) and longtime DBT producer David Barbe. Co-founding singer / songwriter / guitarists Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood both spent much of the time prior doing battle with deep pools of writer’s block.

The songs that eventually emerged are among Drive-By Truckers’ most direct and pointedly provocative, tackling the myriad horrors of our new normal through sincere emotion and unbridled heart. Indeed, Armageddon’s Back in Town takes a whirlwind joyride through the whiplash of events we collectively deal with each day while the concluding Awaiting Resurrection dives headfirst into the despair and pain roiled up by these troubled times.

The remarkable songcraft found on The Unraveling receives much of its musical muscle from the sheer strength of the current Drive-By Truckers line-up, with Hood and Cooley joined by bassist Matt Patton, keyboardist / multi-instrumentalist Jay Gonzalez, and drummer Brad Morgan – together, the longest-lasting iteration in the band’s almost 25-year history. The LP also features a number of special guests, including The Shins’ Patti King, violinist/string arranger Kyleen King (Brandi Carlile), and North Mississippi All-Stars’ Cody Dickinson, who contributes electric washboard to the strikingly direct Babies In Cages.

Like 2016’s ‘American Band,’ ‘The Unraveling’ features a scaled-back Drive-By Truckers surveying the America around them. And for the most part they don’t like what they see. There’s anger (“Thoughts and Prayers”) and reflection (“Armageddon’s Back in Town”) here, but mostly there’s a renewed sense of focus and purpose after a few years of excess and bloat. Singers and songwriters Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley once again share the songs, lining up for a portrait of a country in serious need of healing – and this was before the coronavirus and George Floyd.

The Unraveling Drive By Truckers released thru ATO Records.

Drive-By Truckers’ 12th studio album and first new LP in more than three years – the longest gap between new Drive by Truckers albums – “The Unraveling” was recorded at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, TN by Grammy® Award-winning engineer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price) and longtime DBT producer David Barbe. Co-founding singer / songwriter / guitarists Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood both spent much of the time prior doing battle with deep pools of writer’s block.

The songs that eventually emerged are among Drive-By Truckers’ most direct and pointedly provocative, tackling the myriad horrors of our new normal through sincere emotion and unbridled heart. Indeed, Armageddon’s Back in Town takes a whirlwind joyride through the whiplash of events we collectively deal with each day while the concluding Awaiting Resurrection dives headfirst into the despair and pain roiled up by these troubled times.

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The remarkable songcraft found on The Unraveling receives much of its musical muscle from the sheer strength of the current Drive-By Truckers line-up, with Hood and Cooley joined by bassist Matt Patton, keyboardist / multi-instrumentalist Jay Gonzalez, and drummer Brad Morgan – together, the longest-lasting iteration in the band’s almost 25-year history. The LP also features a number of special guests, including The Shins’ Patti King, violinist/string arranger Kyleen King (Brandi Carlile), and North Mississippi All-Stars’ Cody Dickinson, who contributes electric washboard to the strikingly direct Babies In Cages.

Released January 31st, 2020

Image may contain: 5 people, people standing, sky, bridge, shoes and outdoor

The kings of country-rock and outspoken wisdom, Drive-By Truckers, are returning this year with their 12th studio album, following 2016’s American Band and the 2018 release of the long-lost Adam’s House Cat album Town Burned Down, which featured Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley before their Truckers days. “The Unraveling” arrives after a prolonged period of writer’s block for Hood and Cooley, easily one of the most impressive songwriting pairs in music’s recent history ). On The Unraveling, they pick up right where American Band left off, with searing political commentary and a sharp look at the harsh realities of modern American life.

“The past three-and-a-half years were among the most tumultuous our country has ever seen,” Hood said in a press statement, “and the duality between the generally positive state of affairs within our band while watching so many things we care about being decimated and destroyed all around us informed the writing of this album to the core.” And there you have it. It’s a new decade, but the Truckers remain dedicated to the same cause: relaying the truth—no matter how difficult it is to speak—by way of deep-rooted, multifaceted and, perhaps most importantly, southern rock ‘n’ roll.

From “The Unraveling” out January 31st, 2020

Band Members
Patterson Hood,
Mike Cooley,
Brad Morgan,
Jay Gonzalez,
Matt Patton,

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