A ROCK N’ ROLL REVIVAL; The Drive-By Truckers at The Orange Peel

Article by Jonathan Martin

Back in the early nineties, an interesting thing occurred in Seattle,Washington. It was a musical explosion of quality rock bands with their own unique style.

Well, given a larger geographical area, something similar has been going on in the Southern states for quite some time now and currently leading this convoy is Athens,GA based band, The Drive-By Truckers.

Having gone through as many changes as the leaves of an old oak tree, the current lineup consists of co-founders, Patterson Hood (vocals, guitar,) Mike “The Stroker Ace” Cooley (guitar, vocals,) John Neff (guitar, pedal steel, vocals,) Brad “The EZB” Morgan (drums) & Jay Gonzalez (keys, vocals). At least as of Friday, August 17, 2012, at around 10:00 p.m. at The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC. (My apologies to the bass player, whose name was not known at press time.)

After hearing a little bit of the opening (and somewhat surprising) band Glossary, the Truckers, as their fans call them, took the stage to resounding cheers.

Call them Alt Country, Alt Rock, Cowpunk, or Modern Southern Rock. When they played “All Night Long”, it sounded as if Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd had settled their old “disagreement” into a song. “Sweet Home Alabama,” play that dead man’s song! Turn those speakers up full blast; play it all night long!” You could consider this song to be a commentary on the commonality of tough times that some of us grow accustomed to.

Rocking easily into “Gravity’s Gone”, one might think life rarely shines for the songwriter, if it wasn’t for the comfortably content flow of the rhythm. Hood sings complacently about a rock bottom he can only hit so many times, until it’s not there anymore.

Yes, the DBTs can tell stories too. ”Wanda’s got that goddamn pistol in her purse. If she goes on a rampage, they will have to call the hearse!” “Drag the Lake Charlie” is a swampy backwoods romp about a missing husband and his wife’s feared retribution.

“Rebels” reminded me of some solid old school 80s rock with its poppy beat. “I never would have dreamed that her heart was so wicked, but I keep coming back ‘cause it’s so hard to kick it!” Ahh, a rebel even in relationships, he’s a man after my own heart.

The Truckers played to a packed house that night, the first of a two night stand at the Peel, their encore set (which was one full hour), included an excellent cover of Alice Cooper’s “18.” giving me a version I’ll always treasure.

I could have sworn I was responding to an invite to a party with all of my friends, although I didn’t know hardly anyone and wasn’t very familiar with even The Drive-By Truckers before Friday night. The DBTs make it easy to relax into their rowdy, albeit, melodic, guitar driven sound. I wasn’t a believer before this night, but now I am on board the convoy and faithfully spreading the gospel of The Truckers…Honk! Honk! This is a rock n’ roll revival, baby!


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