Say what? Huh? Sorry, I'm a little deaf in my right ear this morning. That's what I get for standing a little too close to the speakers at last night's epic Drive-By Truckers show at Empire. We're talking a three-guitar, Southern rock onslaught from a truly great American band. Drive-By Truckers hail from northern Alabama and their songs are populated with various ornery characters and a sense of small-town tenacity during tough economic times. Think of Drive-By Truckers as something like Lynyrd Skynyrd in the age of job outsourcing.
But most importantly, the Drive-By Truckers rock hard. So there was lots of hootin' and hollering during the band's set at Empire, which stretched past the two-hour mark and still didn't touch such gems as "Ronnie and Neil" (from the "Southern Rock Opera" concept album), "Do It Yourself" and "Feb. 14." The group's touring behind its latest album, "Brighter Than Creation's Dark," and a chunk of its set featured these newest songs. Some longtime Drive-By Truckers fans may have missed Jason Isbell, one of the group's key songwriters who left the band last year (BTW, don't miss Isbell's excellent solo album "Sirens of the Ditch.") So yeah, I missed hearing such Isbell penned tunes as "Outfit" and "Decoration Day," but Drive-By Truckers still roared like a nitro-powered Peterbilt in songs like "Sink Hole," "Marry Me" and "Lookout Mountain." The band played loud and loose - the bottles of Jack Daniels being passed around the stage was fuel for these Truckers - and Tuesday nights rarely rock like this.
Side note: Patterson Hood of the 'Truckers talked a couple times about someone from Sacramento who was "one of his favorite people in the world." Does anyone know who Patterson was talking about?
Anyway, that was one mighty show, even if my ears are paying for it. But that's the best kind of rock 'n' roll: the kind you can still feel the next day.