Posts Tagged ‘Mike Cooley’

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)

See the source image

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

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

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,

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, ocean, text and water

 

Drive-By Truckers, 'American Band'

On this their 11th album, and the most politically charged collection of their career, the Athens-based band offers a dose of angry, punk-fueled protest. “A lot of our records are set in another period of time, whereas this record is really about the ‘right now,'” says frontman Patterson Hood, who’s lately been inspired by Black Lives Matter–era statements like Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. With songs that address gun violence and racially motivated police shootings, American Band is a fitting soundtrack for this fall’s dystopian election cycle. The Truckers revisit themes involving Southern identity first addressed on their 2001 breakthrough Southern Rock Opera, but “What It Means,” which ponders the shootings of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, has already aroused controversy. “Me and [co-lead-singer] Mike Cooley have been pissing people off for 31 years,” says Hood. “If someone wants to control what we say or do, fuck ’em.

The Drive-By Truckers had no plans to release a record this year. But the band’s two co-founders, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, were so agitated by this tumultuous period in American history that they couldn’t stop themselves from writing a bunch of new songs. And the songs were so good and so timely that they couldn’t put off going into the studio. This new album, American Band, is the result.

The two men write their songs separately, but when they shared their recent output, they found that their new material had a lot in common—not only in what they wrote about but also how they wrote about it. Hood and Cooley had so much to say that they found themselves cramming two songs’ worth of words into each tune. To contain this overflow of ideas, they each fashioned long lyric lines, densely packed with language.

When Cooley, for example, wrote about changing gender roles on “Filthy and Fried,” he began with this image-soaked couplet: “Bottles falling in a dumpster and a stale smell rising through a sickening summer haze/To the rhythm of a boot-heeled hipster cowgirl’s clunky sashay of shame.” And when Hood addressed school shootings on “Guns of Umpqua,” he pivoted on this word-stuffed couplet: “Now we’re moving chairs in some panic mode to barricade the door./As my heart rate surges on adrenaline and nerves, I feel I’ve been here before.”

 

The quintet is still a rock ‘n’ roll band with live drums and two or three guitars on every song (Jay Gonzalez splits his duties between guitar and keyboards).

Hood’s “What It Means,” for instance, starts off by referencing the recent deaths of young black men at the hands of police officers. “If you say it wasn’t racial when they shot him in his tracks,” Hood sings, “well, I guess that means you ain’t black…You don’t see too many white kids lying bleeding on the street.” Hood jumps from Ferguson to Baltimore, from Chicago to Miami, turning TV news images into rock ‘n’ roll lyrics.

before the album was released, and it proved polarizing among the band’s staunchest fans. Some loved it, but others hated it, complaining that the Drive-By Truckers shouldn’t get involved in politics. It was a strange reaction, considering that this is the band that released the most ferocious anti-Bush anthem of all, “Putting People on the Moon,” the class-conscious “Uncle Frank,” and the incisive analysis of segregation on “Three Alabama Icons.”

“I’ve always considered ourselves a political band,” Hood adds. “Most of the music I’ve loved I’ve considered political, whether it’s the Clash or Bruce or Curtis Mayfield. When Obama won in 2008, a lot of us convinced ourselves that we’d turned the corner and put all this race stuff behind us. And then the most disgusting stuff happened. It’s like when you turn on the light in the basement and everything scampers. But the negativity this record has inspired—even the pushback from long-term fans—that can be the start of a much needed conversation.”

Like Hood, Cooley watches the news a lot, and he noticed that two topics kept popping up again and again: guns and the Mexican border. What connected the two? he asked himself. At first he thought about writing a satirical song about NRA supporters who form volunteer militias and go down to the border to do ad hoc patrols. But that got him thinking about the National Rifle Association, and its strange transition from a gun-safety/marksmanship organization to a right-wing lobbying group.

The key figure in that changeover, Cooley discovered, was Harlon Carter, the NRA vice president from 1977 through 1985. A little further digging revealed that Carter was set free in 1931 after shooting and killing a 15-year-old Mexican boy, Ramon Casiano, in Laredo, Texas. Suddenly it all fit together, and Cooley quickly wrote “Ramon Casiano,” the album’s lead-off track. Cooley made sure to connect the story to the present day by singing, “It all started with the border, and that’s still where it is today. Someone killed Ramon Casiano, and the killer got away.”

“I did more songs based on specific stories for this album than I ever have in the past,” Cooley says. “I like writing with parameters. In interviews, songwriters always say, ‘I don’t want to put limits on myself,’ but that’s bullshit. Eventually you have put parameters on yourself, or you’re all over the place. If you have nothing to start with, that can be frustrating because you can go for days without thinking of something to write about. But give me something to write about, and I know what to do with it.”

“Ramon Casiano” is a noisy-guitar rocker, and so are the two songs that follow: “Darkened Flags on the Cusp of Dawn” and “Surrender Under Protest.” Hood wrote “Darkened Flags” right after penning a column on the Confederate flag for the New York Times Magazine and the song is “very much the companion piece to the essay,” he says. Both of the latter songs were written right after Dylann Roof, who often posed with the Stars and Bars, shot nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, June 17, 2015.

After the opening trilogy of songs, however, the album quiets down quite a bit. One of the frustrating things about the Drive-By Truckers has always been that the lyrics that are such a strength on their recordings are almost indecipherable in the band’s live shows, drowned out by the roar of unrestrained guitars and drums. On this recording, at least, there’s been a conscious effort to push the words to the foreground,

Last year Hood and Cooley decided to celebrate their 30 years of making music together by releasing It’s Great To Be Alive, a two-LP, three-CD concert album recorded over three nights at the end of 2014 at the Fillmore in San Francisco. It was also a chance to showcase the current Drive-By Truckers line-up: Hood, Cooley, Brad Morgan (drummer since 1999), Jay Gonzalez (guitarist-keyboardist since 2007) and Matt Patton (bassist since 2012). As a live unit, this group had refashioned several songs so dramatically that the new versions deserved to be documented. The set also captures some of Hood’s spoken monologues that are often a highlight of the live shows.