Drive-By Truckers Set to Rock the Englert Theatre January 29, 2017

Article by Ric Holmquest
Photo by Mike Steffans

Athens, Georgia based alt-country indie southern rockers Drive-By Truckers will invade the historic Englert Theatre in Iowa City on Sunday, January 29 at 7pm. The Truckers are touring in support of their eleventh studio recording American Band, released September 2016 on ATO Records. The record is cowpunk with a chip on its shoulder, having the most political lyrics of the band’s long career. American Band delves into topics including race relations and gun violence. The records cover photo of an American flag at half-mast signals the dark mood to come.

The Chicago Tribune rates the Drive-By Truckers American Band in its Top Ten, while Rolling Stone has the release in their Top 50 Albums of 2016. The record appears on NPR’s best 50 albums of 2016, with What it Means #5 of the Top 100 Songs. The band performs at the Englert three nights after a performance at the world famous Ryman Auditorium of Nashville USA and just ahead of their European tour including Manchester, London and Amsterdam.

Drive-By Truckers is the brainchild of co-creators Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, who formed the band in 1996. Hood and Cooley take turns on lead vocals and lead guitars and wrote all of the songs for American Band. Current band members include Brad “EZB” Morgan on the drums, Matt Patton on bass and backing vocals, with Hammond hauler Jay Gonzalez on the B-3, Wurlitzer, lead, rhythm, electric and acoustic guitars and backing vocals.

The Truckers performances are a three person out and out guitar attack. Morgan’s big bass drum and Patton’s bass guitar combine for an awesome sound and feel at the bottom end. The guitars have a country crunch to them, or can be gently layered over Cooley’s vocals, depending on the mood. Hoods vocals are directly delivered and honest, with Cooley’s vocals much lighter, bringing to mind a youthful Neil Young.

Patterson Hood was born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the son of long time Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section bassist David Hood. Since the sixty’s Fame Studios and the Muscle Shoals Sound studio produced hits that shaped the history of popular music. Also known as the Swampers, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section appeared on more than seventy five gold and platinum hits.

Ramon Casiano is the first cut on the new disc and was written by Mike Cooley. It’s a story of a Mexican teenager murdered in Laredo, Texas in 1931 by Harlan B. Carter. Only seventeen at the time, Carter would later go on to lead the National Rifle Association. Convicted of murder, he was sentenced to only three years in jail. His sentence was later commuted, which resulted in no jail time.

Patterson Hood’s song titled, What it Means, is a social commentary on racism in the world, venting frustration that we have come so far and learned so little. Mike Cooley’ soft spoken and introspective “Filthy and Fried” recognizes our changing gender roles, youth and parenthood lamenting “now girls collect trophies as much as the boys and come home just as filthy and fried.” Kinky Hypocrite is Patterson’s send up on televangelism warning “ all at once or making payments on a daily syndicated hissy fit, the greatest separators of fools from their money, party harder than they like to admit.”

Portland, Oregon’s Kyle Craft opens for the Drive-By Truckers show at the Englert. Craft released his debut record Dolls of Highland on the Sub Pop records label in 2016. Rolling Stone wrote that he sounds like “a swamp bar jukebox loaded with British glitter and seventies southern rock” and turns his tracks into a “poetic gumbo of southern roots, electric folk and preening glam rock.” Craft’s six piece band includes Jeremy Kale Padot on guitar, Mayhaw Hoons on bass, Haven Multz on the drums, Ben Steinmetz on organ and Dan Talmadge on piano.

The Drive-By Truckers - Darkened Flags Tour with Kyle Craft sponsored by City Revealed Magazine
Sunday, January 29 @ 7pm at the Englert Theatre
221 East Washington Street, Iowa City $28.50
Box office is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
12:30– 5:30pm (319) 688-2653 or info@englert.org

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