Posts Tagged ‘Drive By Truckers’

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Jay Gonzalez of the band Drive-by Truckers has more in common with polished sounds of The Beatles and The Beach Boys in his solo efforts than he does with the gritty, loud rock of his main employer. As this writer offered on Gonzalez’s first solo album, 2011’s  Mess of Happiness – Gonzalez is an excellent translator. As you listen, you can’t help but hearken back to the hooks of great pop records—be it Billy Joel, Todd Rundgren, or the two aforementioned groups. In fact, According to Gonzalez, his inspiration is drawn from Paul McCartney’s“expansive vocal harmonies, multi-song suites, and bittersweet chord progressions. But a bit rawer.”  So here he is once again reimagining the sound of classic A.M. radio through his own kaleidoscopic approach.

Again Gonzalez records in his adopted hometown of Athens, GA, and this time enlists some familiar names to longtime DBT fans, Matt Lane (drums) and John Neff (pedal steel guitar) along with an old friend, drummer Joe Rowe (The Glands). Gonzalez of course can play any keyboard or guitar.  Although his vocal opportunities in the DBTs are of the supporting background variety, he steps out confidently on the lead vocals, showing some improvement from his first solos effort.  From the straight-ahead pop of “(I Wanna) Hold You” and the buoyant “Trampoline” to the emotional Robin Gibb tribute, “Crying Through The Wall,” the album is a fun-filled pop excursion, imbued with adventurous arrangements and timeless song writing.  Many of these songs would be equally at home in the ‘60s or ‘70s.

Gonzalez first arrived in Athens, GA from his native Westchester County, NY more than two decades ago. Together with his good friend and bandmate Chris Grehan, he set to work experimenting with his own brand of power pop while also playing in such esteemed local outfits like The Possibilities. Gonzalez officially joined Drive-By Truckers in 2008, first as a keyboard player and later becoming the third guitarist when needed. His contributions have transformed and broadened the band’s sound.  

Taking inspiration from such unified conceptual works as The Who’s “A Quick One (While He’s Away)” and The Beatles’ Abbey Road side two medleys. Gonzalez followed up with 2015’s The Bitter Suite EP, a seamless five-song opus hailed on these pages as “a pleasing listen through and through with emotional ups and downs, constant tempo changes, and a kaleidoscope of instruments and sounds performed almost exclusively by Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was introduced to Portland, OR indie-rock collaborative Eyelids by fellow Drive-By Trucker Patterson Hood and in 2017, contributed instrumental work as a special guest on the band’s acclaimed second album, OR. A series of tours – with Gonzalez backed by his crack live band, The Guilty Pleasures followed. And, more recently, 2019 saw the release of Jay Gonzalez Sings Eyelids Sings Jay Gonzalez, a limited edition 7” single for which each artist wrote an original song for the other to perform and record.

Listening to “Never Felt Bad,” “You Make It Hard (To Be Unhappy),” and the instrumental fare such as the opening “Sunspots” or “Loons on the Lake” is a joy; this album can lift your spirits when you’re feeling down or it can be the perfect soundtrack to a lovely, breezy, sunny Spring day. Yes, those days are coming.  When they arrive, bring Gonzalez with you.

“Sunspot” by Jay Gonzalez Released on: 12th February 2021

Amazing acoustic performances by three of music’s most gifted songwriters of any generation. ‘Live at the Shoals Theatre’ will be released on LP + CD on June 4th 2021. On June 15th 2014, Jason Isbell reunited onstage with former Drive By Truckers bandmates Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley for a special round-style night in Muscle Shoals Music. The setlist includes acoustic versions of Isbell-era Truckers gems including “Heathens,” “Decoration Day” and “Zip City” as well as post-Isbell Truckers tracks like “Space City” and solo Isbell faves such as “Cover Me Up.” The set opens and closes with a pair of classic Hood-sung numbers, 2004′s “Tornadoes” and 2001′s “Let There Be Rock.”  

Mike Cooley – Vocals, Guitar
Patterson Hood – Vocals, Guitar
Jason Isbell – Vocals, Guitar

We’re thrilled to announce that this legendary in-the-round performance was recorded and has now been mixed and mastered for your listening pleasure. This 4 LP Box set is pressed on coke-bottle clear & transparent pink vinyl and includes liner notes from Patterson Hood. This colour variant is available exclusively through their web store.

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The CD version is a two disk, 6 panel digipak. 

Recorded live at the Shoals Theatre in Florence, AL on 6/15/14

4LP Box Set (2 Coke Bottle Clear / 2 Transparent Pink)

Acclaimed musician, singer, and songwriter Jay Gonzalez has announced the upcoming release of his new album. “Back To The Hive” arrives everywhere via Gonzalez’s own Middlebrow Records on Friday, March 5th; Perhaps best known for his role as guitarist/keyboard player with the mighty Drive-By Truckers, Gonzalez is heralding “Back To The Hive” with an official video for “(I Wanna) Hold You,”. 

A self-professed “sucker for short pop songs filled with hooks and devoid of filler,” Gonzalez’s second full-length solo album, “Back To The Hive” sees the multi-talented artist continuing to push power pop into new shapes, reimagining the sound of classic A.M. radio through his own kaleidoscopic approach.

Recorded in his hometown of Athens, GA by longtime collaborator Chris Grehan, the album sees Gonzalez joined by a number of old friends including drummer Joe Rowe (The Glands) and former Drive-by Truckers Matt Lane (drums) and John Neff (pedal steel guitar) on a collection of strikingly diverse songs. From the straight-ahead pop of “(I Wanna) Hold You” and the buoyant “Trampoline” to the emotional Robin Gibb tribute, “Crying Through The Wall,” “Back To The Hive” is both invigorating and inventive, imbued with adventurous arrangements, timeless song writing, and a lifetime of pop passion.

Jay Gonzalez first arrived in Athens, GA from his native Westchester County, NY more than two decades ago. Together with his good friend and bandmate Chris Grehan, he set to work experimenting with his own brand of power pop while also playing in such esteemed local outfits like The Possibilities. Gonzalez officially joined Drive-By Truckers in 2008, first as keyboard player and later taking up the mantle of guitarist in the ground breaking band. 2011 saw the release of Gonzalez’s first solo album, “Mess Of Happiness”,

Gonzalez’s approach unmistakably evokes similarly restless classics of early ‘70s shut-in singer-song writing, like Todd Rundgren’s and Emitt Rhodes’s but so very few musicians pull off this style of ornate song writing with such lightness and apparent effortlessness.

Taking inspiration from such unified conceptual works as The Who’s “A Quick One (While He’s Away)” and The Beatles Abbey Road” side two medley, Gonzalez followed up with 2015’s The Bitter Suite EP, a seamless five-song opus through and through with emotional ups and downs, constant tempo changes, and a kaleidoscope of instruments and sounds performed almost exclusively by Gonzalez.”

Gonzalez was introduced to Portland, OR indie rock supergroup Eyelids by fellow Drive-By Trucker Patterson Hood and in 2017, contributed instrumental work as special guest on the band’s acclaimed second album, Or. A series of tours – with Gonzalez backed by his crack live band, The Guilty Pleasures – followed, affirming the friendship and like-minded musical association. Indeed, 2019 saw the release of “Jay Gonzalez Sings Eyelids Sings Jay Gonzalez”, a limited edition 7” single for which each artist wrote an original song for the other to perform and record.

Jay Gonzalez’s new album, Back to the Hive, arriving March 5th

Drive by Truckers‘ penchant towards political observation and criticism is as evident as ever in “The New Ok”. The album’s title spins the ‘new normal’ cliché, often used to describe the apathy towards and acceptance of the dysfunction caterwauling from the politically powerful. Indeed, the album overtly opposes ICE and the caging of children at the border. More so, Drive by Truckers use their album to lend support to the Black Lives Matter movement while questioning white-identity politics and rejecting far-right discourses. Drive by Truckers are not content to examine contemporary political angst as a singular historical moment.

“Sarah’s Flame”, for example, contextualizes Sarah Palin’s role in paving the way for Trumpism, leading up to the white supremacist march through Charlottesville, North Carolina. The New Ok’s strength is derived from its overtness. Drive by Truckers do not hide their intent in symbolism or purple lyricism. By utilizing a conversation-style delivery, their purpose is apparent. Whereas The New Ok is decidedly a bleak portrait of the now, Drive By Truckers urge their audience to acknowledge the deceitful political artery that led society to 2020, then prevent the devastation from further continuing.

DBT released The Unraveling on January. 31st 2020 and set out for what was supposed to be a full year of touring. We completed the first leg of the tour at DC’s beloved 9:30 Club on Feb. 29th. We all went home for a brief break before resuming at Vogue in Indianapolis on March 12th. We were two songs into the soundcheck for that show when we were told that the entire tour was to be postponed indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We packed up the trailer and headed home where we’ve pretty much been ever since.

To call these past few months trying would be a dramatic understatement. Our lives are intertwined with our work in ways that give us our best songs and performances. It is a life that has often rewarded us beyond our wildest dreams. Speaking for myself, I don’t have hobbies, I have this thing I do. To be sidelined with a brand new album and have to sit idly while so much that I love and hold dear falls apart before my very eyes has been intense, heartbreaking, anger provoking and very depressing. It has gone to the very heart of our livelihoods and threatened near everything that we have spent our lives trying to build.

The original idea for this album was to put out an EP utilizing some great tracks we had from the Memphis sessions that “The Unraveling” was culled from. We actually had a wealth of music recorded in those sessions. Not inferior outtakes, but songs we felt strongly about that didn’t further the narrative of the album we decided to release. We also wanted to include some new songs written during this endless summer of protests, riots, political shenanigans and pandemic horrors. We ended up with a full album that hopefully balances out the darkness of our current situation with a hope for better days and nights ahead.

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I wrote “Watching the Orange Clouds” the weekend after George Floyd’s murder as I watched the whole country rise up in a chaotic firestorm of anger and calls for a righteous change. I wrote The New OK a couple of months later during the heat of the federal occupation in my adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon. We had to record them by sending each other tracks until we had all that we needed for David Barbe to mix the finished songs.

The Distance is a song I wrote in 2011. We had an unfinished demo from early in the English Oceans sessions that we took and finished for this album. Again, it’s a song I’ve always loved but it didn’t fit in with the album we were working on at the time. I kinda consider it an epilogue for our early days of touring in our 1988 Ford Econoline. You could almost call it a sequel to “Let There Be Rock”. “Sea Island Lonely” was written in the back of a car taking me to a super early flight after a show in Southern Georgia. It was one of my favourite takes from the Memphis sessions, a total accident that we completed with horns.

“Tough To Let Go” came to me in a dream. I woke up and immediately wrote it down. We also put horns on that sucker. When I dreamt it, Jason Isbell was singing it. I literally checked with him to make sure that I hadn’t actually stolen it from him. He said I hadn’t, but it was his favourite of my songs from the Memphis sessions.

Cooley wrote “Sarah’s Flame” in early 2019. I’ll let you guess yourself who this Sarah is whose metaphoric spark lit the tiki torches of Charlottesville. This national nightmare didn’t just happen overnight, that’s for sure. “The Unraveling” was a song I wrote several years ago and had always wanted to record but just couldn’t make it work with my singing voice. At some point during the Memphis sessions, I asked Bobby Matt if he would give it a try and he knocked it out of the park. At some point, when we decided to call the last album by that title, we thought it would be cool if we saved the actual title cut for a future record (shades of Led Zeppelin’s “Houses of the Holy”).

As we were finishing in Memphis, Barbe told us to go back in and track our cover of The Ramones’ classic “The KKK Took My Baby Away”. He said we’d be glad we did. That’s yet another reason why he’s been our producer for two decades now.

Finally, in putting it all together, in keeping with the timing of its creation and release, we decided to include The Perilous Night which I began writing on the day the Electoral College voted Trump into office and completed the week after the Charlottesville murder of Heather Heyer on the day that the sitting President said that there was blame on both sides. This is a radically different mix from the mix of the single we released in 2017.

Here’s to the hope that we can make 2021 a better year than this one has been. In the meantime, here’s to The New OK!. Patterson Hood The DBT’s – September, 2020 Released October 2nd, 2020

Image may contain: one or more people, sunglasses and night, text that says 'JERRY JOSEPH THE BEAUTIFUL LMADNESS R ASH OUTNOW OUT NOW'

The first single from Jerry Joseph’s forthcoming album “The Beautiful Madness” released back in August 21st, 2020 on Cosmo Sex School/Soundly Music for North America and the rest of the world and décor records for Europe, UK, Australia and New Zealand Single .”One of the greatest live performers I have ever seen and long one of my favourite songwriters, one of the absolute best of our generation.” The Patterson Hood Video features footage of Jerry Joseph and The Stiff Boys (aka Drive-By Truckers) live at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA February 15th, 2020.

Jerry takes on the world and does not hold back on it’s state and those running it.

Produced by Patterson Hood and recorded with Drive-By Truckers

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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

jason isbell, jason isbell patterson hood, patterson hood, mike cooley, drive by truckers, jason isbell drive by truckrers, dbt, the dirty south dbt, cover me up, jason isbell cover me up, jason isbell 6/15/14

Jason Isbell dug into the vaults to pull out a special 2014 concert alongside his former Drive-By Truckers bandmates Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley . The concert, which took place at the Shoals Theatre in Florence, AL on June 15th, 2014, is available now on Bandcamp.

The show came together as a benefit concert for Terry Pace, a fixture in the local Shoals artistic scene. Pace—an actor, director, producer, lecturer and music historian—suffered a pair of “debilitating” strokes in March of that year, and faced a long and expensive road to recovery. Together these former bandmates, who hadn’t shared the stage in years, came together to perform in-the-round on this special evening.

The setlist for the evening saw a vibrant mix of the Drive-By Truckers songbook alongside some choice covers including a selection from Isbell’s then-budding solo career. Starting off the show with “Tornadoes” from Drive-By-Truckers’ 2004 record The Dirty South, the trio explored the band’s output during Isbell’s tenure of 2001—2007. Given Isbell’s seemingly-sudden departure from the group seven years prior, which in no small part led to the lasting sobriety he enjoys to this day, this concert served as an important statement to fans that there were no hard feelings.

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Over the course of the 25-song performance, the trio mined much of The Dirty South as well as 2003’s Decoration Day. It was toward the end of the evening, however, that Isbell showed everyone what he had been up to with a take on his solo single “Cover Me Up”. In the end, the show came to a raucous close with a 12-minute cover of AC/DC‘s “Let There Be Rock”.

Live at Shoals Theatre from Jason Isbell, Patterson Hood, and Mike Cooley is available to purchase on Bandcamp.

Recorded live at the Shoals Theatre in Florence, AL on 6/15/14
Released November 6th, 2020
The Band:
Mike Cooley – Vocals, Guitar
Patterson Hood – Vocals, Guitar
Jason Isbell – Vocals, Guitar
Drive-By Truckers, Drive-By Truckers new ok, the new ok, drive-by truckers new album, drive-by truckers surprise album

After announcing it just two days ago, Drive-By Truckers have released a surprise new album, The New OK, out today via ATO RecordsThe New OK arrives just months after the release of the band’s acclaimed new LP, The Unraveling, and marks Drive-By Truckers’ 13th studio album.

Originally conceived as a quarantine EP comprised of material recorded in Memphis during sessions for The Unravelingthe project quickly grew to include provocative new songs written and recorded over what Drive-By Truckers co-founder Patterson Hood calls “this endless summer of protests, riots, political shenanigans and pandemic horrors”—including a cover of The Ramones classic “The KKK Took My Baby Away”. The themes of the album are readily apparent from the get-got, with cover art depicting a headstone that’s been tagged with rainbow colors and a prominent “BLM.”

Tracks like Hood’s “The New Ok” and “Watching The Orange Clouds”—inspired by the protests which followed George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police—were exchanged between Hood, co-founding singer/songwriter/guitarist Mike Cooley, bassist Mike Patton, keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Jay Gonzalez, and drummer Brad Morgan and subsequently mixed by longtime DBT producer David Barbe. The result, says Hood, is “a full album that hopefully balances out the darkness of our current situation with a hope for better days and nights ahead.”

“To call these past few months trying would be a dramatic understatement,” Hood continues. “Our lives are intertwined with our work in ways that give us our best songs and performances. It is a life that has often rewarded us beyond our wildest dreams. Speaking for myself, I don’t have hobbies, I have this thing I do. To be side lined with a brand new album and have to sit idly while so much that I love and hold dear falls apart before my very eyes has been intense, heart-breaking, anger provoking and very depressing. It has gone to the very heart of our livelihoods and threatened near everything that we have spent our lives trying to build. Here’s to the hope that we can make 2021 a better year than this one has been. In the meantime, here’s to The New OK!”

“The New OK” by Drive-By Truckers

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No photo description available.

This is an exquisite set of cover songs by Nashville-based Sunshine Pop band, The Explorers Club. Features guest vocals by former Barenaked Ladies front man Steven Page, and Drive-By Truckers member, Jay Gonzalez. Songs include huge pop hits originally recorded by The Turtles (“She’d Rather Be With Me,”) Manfred Mann, (the Bob Dylan penned “Mighty Quinn,” Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart (“I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight”) Herb Alpert (“This Guy’s In Love With You”) and Paul Revere and the Raiders (“Kicks.).
Exquisite set of cover songs by Nashville-based Sunshine Pop band, “The Explorers Club”. A Ten-song-set is chock full of hits, misses and other delights from the 1960s. Brainchild of Charleston, SC native Jason Brewer, the only constant “member” of The Explorers Club over the band’s lifespan
Album features guest vocals by former Barenaked Ladies front man Steven Page, and Drive-By Truckers member, Jay Gonzalez.Three previous albums: “Freedom Wind” (2008), “Grand Hotel” (2012) and “Together” (2016) and of course their “self-titled” album (2020) which is being released around the same time as “To Sing And Be Born Again”Brainchild of Charleston, SC native Jason Brewer, the only constant “member” of The Explorers Club over the band’s lifespan, Brewer re-unites with Freedom Wind and Grand Hotel producer, Matt Goldman (Copeland, Underoath, Smalltown Poets, etc). New contributors to this set include Shane Tutmarc (Dolour, Sean Nelson,) Page and Gonzalez, as well as vocals from former Explorers Club member Wally Reddington and past contributor Brian Langan. 

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Brewer, Tutmarc, and Goldman recorded most of the album in Nashville, at Columbia’s legendary Studio A. Additional work was done at Gem City Studios on the  more

Released June 12th, 2020