Category Archives: drive-by truckers

Favorite Albums of 2012: Non-locals Edition

Drive-By Truckers, 11/03/08
1. Patterson Hood – Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance
This is the first Patterson Hood solo record I’ve loved front to back, heck this is the first time I’ve loved all the songs Patterson wrote on any record, including Drive-By Truckers records. There’s always one song that needles me or runs 3 verses too long. But not here. Perfectly restrained and amazingly lovely. And just darn close to perfect. Stand out track: “Better Than The Truth” which works as a kind of sequel to the DBT song “A World of Hurt”.

Murder By Death, Ottobar, 11/08/08
2. Murder by Death – Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon
Here’s how much I love this record: Murder by Death aren’t coming to the Triangle in support of this album, so in February a friend and I are going to Wilmington then Charleston to see them play on back to back nights. Super happy this bad signed to Bloodshot this year, and this record is a great way to kickoff their growth on that label, as lush and beautiful and creepy and rich and surprising as ever. Stand out track: “Hard World”

Shovels & Rope, Slim's, Hopscotch Hangover, Raleigh NC, 09/09/12
3. Shovels & Rope – O’ Be Joyful
Infectious and fantastic. I was in Columbia SC over Thanksgiving (where I grew up) and went to the record store (as you do) and was so happy to see Papa Jazz pushing this record onto everyone who came looking for the Lumineers record or the Mumford & Sons record. Really great to see them supporting SC artists. And it’s a really great record (which helps). Delightful, joyous, with just enough Southern Gothic undercurrent to keep it from being sticky sweet. Stand out track: “Keeper” listen and try not to smile.

4. The Whigs – Enjoy the Company
This is the surprise record of the year for me. I liked but didn’t love their earlier records. They were for me a band that would have been perfect as a touring open, solid but not exceedingly memorable. Enjoy the Company though is a leap forward for them. Swampy garage rock with just enough variety between songs to keep the record moving at a great pace. Their songs just all click here. Stand out track: “Staying Alive” – “So tell me a story & repeat it. You’re never that angry if you’re mad.”

5. Heartless Bastards – Arrow
My favorite Heartless Bastards record and a real return to form for them. (I’m also a complete sucker for bands that release alt takes digitally in addition to the download code.) Driving guitars, amazing vocals and a really great tension between the two. This is a record I forgot about a couple of times during the year (came out in February), and every time I pulled the record back out, I got lost in it again. Stand out track: “Skin and Bone”

Damien Jurado, Berkeley, Hopscotch, Raleigh NC, 09/07/12
6. Damien Jurado – Maraqopa
Most beautiful album of the year. And the really amazing thing about these songs to me is that they are equally beautiful in the densely layered album version and the stripped down version I saw live at Hopscotch. This is a record for laying on the floor in front of the record player with the volume turned way up.

Lee Baines III & The Glory Fires, Nightlight, Chapel Hill NC, 04/28/11
7. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – There Is a Bomb in Gilead
This isn’t a Dexateens record, but it is a mighty mighty fine, hard driving southern rock record. I grew up listening to alot of southern rock both good and awful, and it is so rare to hear a good example today (bad examples aplenty though). Like all great music of its genre, sounds best on a road trip with sunshine and open highway. Stand out track: “The Red, Red Dirt of Home”

Centro-matic, Rock & Roll Hotel, 11/19/08
8. Will Johnson – Scorpion
I love all Will Johnson records and bands. Dual Hawks is somewhere on my top 20 records of all time. So just about any new Will Johnson record is likely to make its way onto a top 10 list of mine. As usual with his solo records, this is Johnson’s song writing stripped down to its most sparse and heartbreaking. The lyrics and the tension is the deliberate pace of the record will haunt you. Stand out track: “Scorpion”

9. Mark Eitzel – Don’t Be a Stranger
Sometimes it is just about the right record releasing at the right time of year. The perfect record for the first gray days of fall, released on one of the few weeks we’ve had this year with gray days of fall. Small, quiet, heartbreaking, & beautiful songs. Stand out track: “The Bill is Due” – “Parties and punchlines makes a life easy to forget, but you can’t rise to the light when you’re full of regret. Don’t become a ghost when your time is through. The world gives you away, and the bill is due”

Joe Pug, Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 06/04/12
10. Joe Pug – The Great Despiser
It can’t and shouldn’t be all depressing music (though this list has its fair share). Even when the subjects of the songs turn dark, which happens, the songs are always filled with such such a pure and firm belief in grace and second chance and hope that I find myself crying while smiling along. The Tex Thomas cover “Deep Dark Wells” that closes the album is the best summary of the point Pug’s songs make at every turn: “As long as you’re not finished, you can start all over again”

Favorite Shows of the year tomorrow.


please don’t hesitate to cross my mind

I’m glad I got to see Drive-By Truckers with Shonna Tucker one last time at Hopscotch this year. I’ll miss seeing her with them the next time I go to a show, I look forward to seeing what Shonna does next.

This makes the second band I saw at Hopscotch this year to part ways with a band member. The first was Amy Klein leaving Titus Andronicus. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next as well.
Titus Andronicus,Tir Na Nog, Hopscotch, Raleigh NC, 09/10/11

And I really hope this trend doesn’t continue.

Hopscotch Day 2 Photos

A few photos from Hopscotch Day 2. Full photo set here

Last Year's Men, Churchkey/The Layabout Day Party, Slim's, Hopscotch, Raleigh NC, 09/09/11
Last Year’s Men

Helping Hands Marching Band, Hopscotch, Raleigh NC, 09/09/11
Helping Hands Marching Band

The Dodos, City Plaza, Hopscotch, Raleigh NC, 09/09/11
The Dodos

Drive-By Truckers, City Plaza, Hopscotch, Raleigh NC, 09/09/11
Drive-By Truckers

Drive-By Truckers, City Plaza, Hopscotch, Raleigh NC, 09/09/11
Drive-By Truckers

Guided By Voices, City Plaza, Hopscotch, Raleigh NC, 09/09/11
Guided By Voices

Justin Robinson & The Mary Annettes, The Hive, Hopscotch, Raleigh NC, 09/09/11
Justin Robinson & The Mary Annettes

Carlitta Durand, Lincoln, Hopscotch, Raleigh NC, 09/09/11
Carlitta Durand

Mount Moriah, Berkeley, Hopscotch, Raleigh NC, 09/09/11
Mount Moriah

Frontier Ruckus, Deep South, Hopscotch, Raleigh NC, 09/09/11
Frontier Ruckus

Now for Day 3.

Full list of all the Hopscotch coverage from this blog here

Hopscotch Preview: Friday Night

(reminder, great schedule calendar here)

The City Plaza shows on Friday will likely end up being some of the festival highlights for me. It’ll be my 25th Drive-By Truckers show, and my first Guided by Voices show. 2 years ago I saw a DBT two night stand at the 9:30 Club where Patterson Hood was ill could not perform so Mike Cooley & Shonna Tucker took over. This time around, Patterson has 15 stitches in his hand and will be there, but unable to play guitar. It’ll be fascinating to watch how the stage dynamics change.

Beyond the City Plaza shows, my schedule looks like this: starting at Hive for a little of Justin Robinson & the Mary Annettes’ set, before going to the Lincoln for the end of Carlitta Durand’s set & the beginning of the Annuals set (unless I catch Annuals at a Day Party, in which case I’ll make my next move earlier), then to the Kings for end of The Body and the beginning of Liturgy, (if I miss Mount Eerie at a Day Pary, I’ll skip out on Liturgy and head to Five Star for their set), hopefully then I’ll make it to Mount Moriah at the Berkeley, then ending the night with Frontier Ruckus.

This day, though, is full of hard decisions (and has the most if/then/unless statements still in my plan), so the other bands I’d recommend are (locals first): Brice Randall Bickford (playing a day party too), Temperance League, King Mez, Chip Robinson (playing a day party too), Swans, John Vanderslice, Braids, Disappears.

Full list of all the Hopscotch coverage from this blog here

leave them some mystery

It’s a strong wind blowing on the open range
It’s gonna be beautiful and it’s gonna be strange
It’s where to plant the camera and when to say action
When to print the legend and when to leave the facts in

-Drive-By Truckers, “Monument Valley”

The Secret To A Happy Ending held up well on a second screening a little over a year since my first. Still a beautiful and painful and great rock & roll movie. Reminds me of why I love not just this band but music.

Catch a screening in your town or pick it up soon when it finally comes out on DVD.

Top Shows of 2010: 1-6

Disclaimer, last night, after this list was finished and ready to post, the Avett Brothers announced a surprise show tomorrow night. It’s going to be The Avett Brothers, Bombadil, & The Low Anthem at the Cradle. That is, three of my favorite bands all together in a venue The Avetts could sell out at least 5 times over. It’s going to be amazing. Just imagine it on this list with a *. I already know it’ll belong on here.

1. Deliver Me From Nowhere, North Carolina School of Science & Math, Durham, NC, 04/19/10 – On the morning of 04/19/10 I packed up a carload of possessions and moved them to Durham. After unpacking, I saw a concert reminder for this show. It was Jason Kutchma and many other really talented folks performing Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska straight through. It wasn’t until I got to the show and picked up a program that I realized it was a fundraiser for a family friend. There are days when it seems simplistic to say that I moved back for the music scene. But after about 2 years of trying to move back, it all happened alot quicker than I’d planned. And that night, sitting in the audience listening to one of my favorite singers perform one of my top 5 all time albums, the music was a confirmation that this was the correct move. The next week I returned to Baltimore to tie up loose ends and pack another car load. The concert rang in my head all week as a reminder of what I was coming home to. photo set

Titus Andronicus, Duke Coffeehouse, Durham NC, 09/21/10

2. Titus Andronicus supported by Free Energy, Duke Coffeehouse, Durham, NC, 09/21/10 – It was, simply, a perfect concert. The band controlled the crowd perfectly. There wasn’t a single jerk in the audience. It was the most fun I’ve had moshing about since I was about 18. The album was #1 on my list. They are even better than that live. photo set

Mike Mills, Big Star's Third, Cat's Cradle, Carrboro NC, 12/10/10

3. Big Star’s Third, Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC, 12/10/10 – The best way to explain how awesome this concert was, is to say that standing a couple of feet away from Mike Mills and watching him play the bass wasn’t the most memorable part of the night. There is an obvious theme to this top shows list: the shows that I love the most go beyond music to reach into community. And this concert certainly qualified. Every musician on stage was so… careful to make sure that all the feeling was expressed, that all the beauty carried across. Everyone was having a blast. It was transcendent. photo set

American Aquarium &  Red Collar, The Pour House, 08/21/10

4. Malarkey-gras with Paleface, Magician Michael Casey, Red Collar, and American Aquarium, The Pour House, Raleigh, NC, 08/21/10 – Some concert bills seem like they were designed with me in mind they are so perfect. Everything I wrote about this concert the next day still stands, every word. photo set

Brian Fallon, Black Cat, Washington DC, 1/16/10

5. Brian Fallon & Dave Hause, Black Cat, Washington, DC, 01/16/10 – The first show of the year, and all year long it’s held on to a spot on this list. I’m pretty sure that at some point during this concert Aggie and I both started our mental top shows of 2010 list, knowing that, if this was how the year was beginning it boded well for the rest of the year. And the rest of the year was, simply an embarrassment of riches. This show was amazing from the first moment, but then in the encore, when both singers got onstage for a set made up entirely of covers, the show pushed from amazing to outstanding. photo set.

Drive-By Truckers, Lincoln Theatre, NC, 02/12/10

6. Drive-By Truckers, Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC, 02/12/10 & 02/13/10 – I came home for alot of concerts in the 4 years I was away. It’s fitting that the Truckers two night stand was the last show I came home for (before I just moved back full time). 6 years ago now, at a DBT show at the Lincoln, I met one someone who is still a close from and through whom I met the majority of my friends. So, it fits in more ways than I can enumerate. And beyond all the sentimental reasons I loved this show, the music and performances were amazing. photo sets

Albums of the Year 2010: 6-10

6. The Besnard Lakes, Are the Roaring Night – Their last album was my favorite album of 2007 so you know I love this band. The way this album ebbs and flows it feels like it breathes at times. Olga Goreas’ airy voice is an amazing contrast to the fuzzy guitar and heavy, lingering drums. The contrast and the play between creates an amazing tension. Stand out track: “And This Is What We Call Progress”

7. The National, High Violet – I can’t imagine there is anyone reading this who doesn’t have this album already. It’s excellent. Stand out track: “Runaway.”

8. J. Roddy Walston & The Business, J. Roddy Walston & The Business – It’s a nearly impossible task to take all the energy of a J. Roddy show and pour it into a recording. This record comes about as close as I imagine is possible. It’s rock and roll at its most about to come unhinged glory. The whole album teeters and rocks and hits like a hard party – like the front row of a J Roddy show. Sweaty, loud, rock and roll. Stand out track: “Used To Did.”

Drive-By Truckers, Lincoln Theatre, NC, 02/13/10

9. The Drive-By Truckers, The Big To-Do – It isn’t still the #1 album of the year for me (obviously) but other than that, I stand by everything I said about this album here. Yes, I’m biased. Yes, it is a great album. Stand out track: “Birthday Boy.”

10. The Mynabirds, What We Lose in the Fire, We Gain in the Flood – It’s understated and slow-burning soul. Laura Burhenn has an amazing voice, the band and production are almost timeless. It’s a good thing this album is short because every time I play it I start wool-gathering, distracted into daydreams by the music. Stand out track: “We Made a Mountain.”