Drive-By Truckers

JD Wilkes #1803

Debut Studio Solo Album from JD Wilkes of Legendary Shack Shakers

JD Wilkes, the vibrant front man of the Legendary Shack Shakers and the Dirt Daubers, releases his debut studio solo album, Fire DreamBruce Watson of Fat Possum Records produced, calling upon his Mississippi hill country cadre of stellar players, including fellow Country Fried Rock alum, Jimbo Mathus (also of Squirrel Nut Zippers), Matt Patton (Drive-By Truckers), and Dr. Sick.  Fire Dream whirls like a sideshow fire dancer, with a circus feel, and a touch of Threepenny OperaYou are not completely sure if this is a beautifully crafted satire or intensely serious.  The songs in Fire Dream find influences from gypsy music and klezmer as much as old time.

Hillbilly gypsy, klezmer, and solo tour with band

Wilkes’ upcoming tour begins as a duo with his long-time bass player.  On several dates, Wilkes opens for musician and performance artists, Unknown Hinson.  By March, the JD Wilkes band tour starts. Members of the Shack Shakers will back Wilkes, but not as a Legendary Shack Shakers tour.  This is a solo album, with a live band that knows how to keep up with Wilkes’ antics.  Additionally, they are playing acoustic and often around a single mic for much of the show — definitely a departure from a LSS show!

Tom Thumb joins the band

Finally, the fifth member of the band joins JD Wilkes — a Tom Thumb piano.  Wilkes bought his Chinoiserie 64 key piano on EBay.  The 100-year old instrument tinkles from the side stage.  These smaller pianos (versus the standard 88 key instrument) often resided in restaurants and speakeasys because they were easier to move around.  Sometimes, traveling salesmen used them as demonstration pieces.  Wilkes discusses their use in Tin Pan Alley songwriting in the last century.

In Memory of Chris Porter: Shonna Tucker #1707

Shonna Tucker emerged from self-imposed music exile to play bass for Chris Porter‘s final album, Don’t Go Baby It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You. After she left the Drive-By Truckers, she formed a band and released a great album that we featured on a previous podcast. Later, she questioned whether she was meant to play music, and drove a tractor and fed pigs on a farm. Porter’s call to Tucker to play bass came at the perfect time and was just what she needed to jump back into music with both feet. Despite touring together with their former bands (DBT and Centro-Matic), Tucker and Will Johnson had never played together before as a rhythm section, which was a delightful treat for both. A few months after their whirlwind recording, Porter, John Calvin Abney, and Tucker hit the road for an acoustic solo tour, each playing their own songs. Since then, Tucker has joined Pegi Young’s band, The Survivors (along with legends Spooner Oldham, Phil Jones, and Kelvin Holly), and is also available for live and session work when not on the road with Young.

Hood – Isbell – Cooley reunite at the Shoals Theater

Another fabulous show review from Blake Ells! –SS
***

When I saw Jasper native and Drive-By Truckers bassist Matt Patton milling around the lobby at the Shoals Theater at 6:45 p.m. on Sunday, I knew this reunion would not be a full band show. And when, shortly after, I saw David Hood doing the same, I knew that it was just another night in Muscle Shoals. Both were among a collection of recognizable faces and smiles which also included Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard on hand for the Terry Pace benefit concert in Florence, an event which saw a rare gathering of Patterson Hood, Jason Isbell and Mike Cooley.

The Shoals Theater is on Seminary Street, a block away from Court, and it has stood through the most significant changes that the city has seen over the last half century. While there was Florence Alabama Music Enterprises churning out hit records, the Theater was, as Hood joked, across town showing “Pinocchio and every single Disney movie that was made.” And at some point, it was boarded up, and Hood “dreamed of making it the day he could play at the Shoals Theater.” Over the last 10 years or so, the area has been revitalized, and even though he’s already accomplished the dream, he returned for another intimate set for a worthy cause.

Just after 7 p.m., the trio took the stage while Hood shared that setup. Quickly, the “Hood – Isbell – Cooley” benefit before a room of 700 had become “Storytellers.” Hood opened by sharing stories about his first band with Cooley, Adam’s House Cat, before his first tune, “Tornadoes.” Tuscumbia native Cooley took his turn with “Carl Perkins’ Cadillac” before Greenhill native and later addition to the band Isbell performed “Decoration Day.”

“When I joined this band, I was really young,” he began. “And when you’re that young you’re not that interesting. You don’t have stories to tell. So when your parents would tell you, ‘Now, I’ll tell you this story, but you can’t tell anyone,’ those were the interesting things you wrote about. I guess I could have changed the names,” he laughed.

The rotation continued for the duration. For nearly three hours, the trio swapped stories and shared their songs. Isbell dedicated “Outfit” to his father, in attendance, on Father’s Day, and Hood followed with the admission, “I’m sorry, dad. I love you as much as he loves his dad, but I never could write something to stand up to that.” He then introduced his own “Daddy Needs a Drink,” co-written by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Spooner Oldham.

The first deviation from Drive-By Truckers tunes came with “Cover Me Up,” the lead track from Isbell’s critically acclaimed 2013 release Southeastern. Hood performed “Grand Canyon,” a tune written in memory of close friend Craig Lieske and recorded on 2014’s English Oceans. And the trio closed its regular set with Isbell’s “Alabama Pines.”

Isbell once quipped of the trio’s sad songwriting, “I don’t want to write happy songs. This is an outlet. The guys writing happy songs have problems – like that nah nah nah nah HEY guy.” It was a pretty perfect summation of the band and the intimate evening, as the audience erupted in laughter.

The trio encored with, respectively, their most personal songs about the Shoals: Cooley with “Zip City,” Isbell with “Never Gonna Change” and Hood with “Let There Be Rock” before closing the evening with a cover of Wet Willie’s “Keep on Smilin.'” While it was all perfect, and while people that I had spoken to had traveled from as far as Colorado and West Virginia, everyone left with a barrier broken down. These three men are three of the South’s most talented song writers, but on this night, it was just another night in the Shoals.

SETLIST: Tornadoes – Carl Perkins’ Cadillac – Decoration Day – Heathens – Eyes Like Glue – TVA – Putting People on the Moon – Goddamn Lonely Love – My Sweet Annette – Women Without Whiskey – Outfit – Daddy Needs a Drink – Self Destructive Zone – Cover Me Up – The Living Bubba – Space City – Danko/Manuel – Grand Canyon – Cartoon Gold – Alabama Pines – ENCORE – Zip City – Never Gonna Change – Let There Be Rock – Keep on Smilin’ (Wet Willie cover)

Drive-By Truckers “Sh!+ Shots Count”

From their brand new album, English Oceans.
NSFW language

Buy the Drive-By Truckers’ latest album here on Amazon.

dbt

Three Dimes Down For Nuci’s Space

Our friends at the Three Dimes Down fan forum for Drive-By Truckers have another incredibly successful project for Nuci’s Space this year. They have raised a ton more money that we have, and we want to support their latest project!

Links:

  • Three Dimes Down fundraiser DVD for Nuci’s Space
  • Country Fried Rock’s Vol. 1 & 2 for Nuci’s Space
  • Nuci’s Space
  • Testimonials of why Nuci’s Space matters, even if you’ve never been to Athens, GA

    “…of course I went straight to Nuҫi’s Space after all this; I broke down in tears practically as soon as I walked through the door. The people there are so, so nice. I spoke with the counseling advocate there for an hour or so, and it felt more productive than any “professional” counseling session I’ve had in weeks. So I eventually felt some peace of mind, but without the help of a paid professional. This makes me wish I had more people that I felt comfortable with opening up to, so that I don’t have to pay someone to listen to me.”

    I just wanted to touch base with you and let you know that things are MUCH better for me now that I’ve started therapy with [my therapist]. She is absolutely wonderful, calm, and easy to talk to.
    The past few months have been very difficult for me and I can’t thank Nuҫi’s Space enough for helping me find the help I need to have a healthy life. I’ll keep in touch! Thank you for all you do.

    Just wanted to drop you a note and say thank you so much to you and the rest of Nuҫi’s for sponsoring my therapy. It’s going so great and I feel like I’m growing and getting better and stronger all the time. Just wanted to take a moment and let you know I really appreciate this help y’all are giving me.

    Thanks so much for the help throughout the years. I honestly wouldn’t have known what to do without Nuҫi’s Space.

    I know that many of us have been personally affected by the suicide of friends and family members. There are others of us who are recovering addicts and/or have also suffered from various types of mental illness ourselves.

    Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy #1334

    If you think you know Shonna Tucker from her years playing bass with Drive-By Truckers, then you are in for a surprise with her debut album of her songwriting with her new band, Eye Candy. The songs are sweet, fun, grooving, mellow, occasionally dark and reflective — a nice analogy for her last couple of years. Given the amazing band of John Neff (another former Trucker and player on nearly every record out of Athens in the last 15 years that I can recall), Bo Bedingfield, Clay Leverett, and Neil Golden, the record could easily move into heavier territory, but Tucker’s voice keeps it lighter and balances the monster playing. A Tell All has instant sing-alongs and lyrics that will make you laugh aloud, but also some deeper themes that are even a bit disturbing. If you are looking for a repeat of her previous band, you will not find it in this album; if you are looking for a solid hang out and have a mellow happy time, or weekend morning drive record — with a fantastic band and guest keys from Spooner Oldham — then you will be thrilled with A Tell All. Be sure to order the recipe poster, designed by our alum, Jack Logan, with Shonna Tucker’s recipes!

    Liner Notes

    Music Films: Special Deal From Amazon in October just for signing up for 30 days of Amazon Prime for free – watch over 40,000 movies

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    Jack Logan #1329

    Jack Logan is known for his comics as much as his music, starting with his “Pete Buck Superhero” series in the 1980s.  While the reluctant hero of the series may not have warmed to the idea right away, R.E.M. fans in Atlanta flocked to local record stores for the cult-series comic, which was kept in the glass case at check out, full of thumbprints from everyone who just wanted to see it.  Logan never stops creating, and his most recent album is with noted luthier, Scott Baxendale of Baxendale Guitar in Athens (formerly, Colorado).  Logan accurately describes his vocals, include the Elvis Costello-ish “Lounge Downtown” and “Erased,” references a part of Athens called Normaltown, all through a filter of psychedelic rock and “Athens rock.”  If you don’t crack up listening to “Run For Your Life,” you probably did not find Pulp Fiction funny, either.  (You might not know the local connotation, but in Athens, it’s “see you at the rock show.”)  With guest appearances from several former & current members of the Drive-By Truckers, this rock record may not be on your radar, but needs to be in your collection.

    Liner Notes

    Jack Logan & Scott Baxendale

    This is a fantastic record from a couple names you might not readily recognize unless you are from Georgia, but they are locally legendary.

    Jack Logan is a noted musician, but I first knew of him for his off-beat comics that I bought at Fantasyland Records in Atlanta, especially the Peter Buck (“Pete”) as superhero ones. Baxendale is part of the amazing guitar-makers, Baxendale Guitar.

    From the liner notes:
    Indie Rock Legend Jack Logan and Guitarist and guitar maker Scott Baxendale collaborate with members of Drive-By Truckers to create a driving, at times swampy guitar record with a dark and eclectic Southern perspective.

    Jack Logan is back with his 12th studio album since his debut solo album in 1994. A debut album with an astonishing 42 songs, Bulk gained notoriety for the sheer size of the release– unfortunately more so than the quality of the songwriting. To be fair, it was a lot of work for Twin/Tone Records (home of The Replacements early releases) honcho Peter Jesperson to take 600 recordings made from 1979 to 1993 and distill them to only 42 songs! From the Bulk liner notes Jesperson says, “I went for the best songs and for what was most representative of the variety of styles. It seemed to be the only way to put across what Logan was all about.” Since that time Jack’s sporadic releases have bounced between record labels and self-released– even spending a very brief time on a major label for the 1999 album Buzz Me In.

    Logan has a very supportive and talented group of friends he regularly counts on to join him on– in his words– “compulsive recording.” For Jack’s new album titled Bones in the Desert, he partners with Scott Baxendale who brought music with an Exile on Main Street-flavored blend of moody melancholia and cranky guitar rock. Considering that portions of Logan’s recorded output often resemble a belligerent Perry Como fronting the Rolling Stones, it is a comfortable fit. In addition to being a songwriter and guitarist, Baxendale is probably best known as being a top-notch luthier whose custom guitars are in the hands of musicians like the guys in Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell, Justin Townes Earle, Will Dailey, Butch Walker, Mick Jones of the Clash, and

    Eye Candy: Leaked Track

    Don’t know Eye Candy yet? Shonna Tucker‘s & John Neff’s (formerly of Drive-By Truckers) new amazing band in Athens, GA!

    Another leaked track! Woohoo!

    New video 7/2013!

    The Secret to a Happy Ending

    From the official trailer:

    The Secret to a Happy Ending documents the Drive-By Truckers and their congregation of fans as they explore tales of human weakness and redemption. Filmmaker Barr Weissman followed the band during three critical years of touring and recording — years in which the band struggles to overcome the trauma of divorce and survives a near breakup. Secret combines band interviews, behind-the-scenes footage on the road and in the studio, along with legendary live performances. Reflective of the band’s roots in Alabama and Georgia, the film explores the changing American South — its tangled past and strange beauty.

    Order a DVD of the documentary: http://www.drivebytruckers.com