If there is one thing American history has taught us, it is that the South should not, will not, and cannot be contained. Despite the generality of the term, the imagined South produces powerful imagery of life, land and culture that is somehow more natural and raw than our own.
Based out of Athens, Ga. with some members hailing from Alabama, Drive-By Truckers are right in line with this ideal, reminding us that life is fun, beautiful and even sad. Since its inception, the band often praised as “Southern rock revivalists” has endured a multitude of lineup changes while retaining its characteristic sound. Founded by Patterson Hood (guitar, vocals) and Mike Cooley (guitar, vocals), the band is now also comprised of Shonna Tucker (bass, vocals), John Neff (guitar, pedal steel guitar) and Brad Morgan (drums) with Hood, Cooley and Tucker on songwriting duties.
Their newest album, Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, is the band’s eighth in 10 years.
“We try to write as much as we can,” Tucker said of the band’s ability to produce such a large quantity of music.
She also added that although the songwriting is an individual effort, the band still works strongly as a whole. “The influence is just where we all are on a personal level. After the first few songs, we can feel the album going in a certain direction,” Tucker said. “We know each other well enough that if someone comes in with a song, grabs an acoustic guitar and says, ‘Here’s my song,’ we can put a part to it. It’s a complete democracy. We sense out an idea and fall in with our own thing.”
The result is albums often united by concepts that remind us of the different struggles, people, events and motion picture stars significant in our lives.
Most of the band hails from the Muscle Shoals region of northern Alabama known for FAME Studios and the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, which Patterson’s father, David Hood, played an integral role in creating. The studio is known for producing records for many influential artists of the time, including The Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson and Aretha Franklin, and the presence of music and these artists had a profound influence on the band.
“It showed us that these people were real and that it was possible to [make music] if you wanted to,” Tucker said. “ And David, to this day, is completely fascinated and in awe of Patterson’s playing. David’s such an inspiration to me.”
DBT is honored to be bringing some influence with them this time. Spooner Oldham, a Muscle Shoals session musician, is joining the band on their current tour.
“He’s a magician as well as a musician,” Tucker said of the organist.
The tour also marks the Truckers’ return to the big stage. After their acoustic Dirt Underneath tour of 2007, the band is ready to abandon the more intimate, seated environment and get back to what they do best: stirring up crowds with their own energetic brand of alt-country/Southern rock.
“We’re a bunch of rednecks,” Tucker said. “We can’t be quiet for too long. It feels good to get back up there and plug it in.”

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