Thursday, March 6, 2014

Drive-By Truckers Return to Raleigh

Photo Credit: David McClister
With the success of albums like, Go-Go Boots and The Dirty South, the Drive-By Truckers will return to Raleigh next week to play songs from their newest album, English Oceans. After working with producer David Barbes for just two weeks, the band is taking to the road again.  This should come as no real surprise, the Drive By Truckers are regarded as one of the hardest touring bands today.  Highlighted by co-lead singers, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, these Alabama natives have been responsible for some of the band's most popular songs like, Everybody Needs Love and Zip City.

Listening to English Oceans, it is apparent why these two musicians have been able to enjoy such success for what is the band's 12th album.  Drawing upon the musical talents of band members, Brad Morgan, Matt Patton and Jay Gonzalez, the newest album is a collection of tracks that will echo that familiar southern rock and roll sound, but as Cooley admits in a recent Rolling Stones article, "The new record has gone back to that simple sound. It sounds like a smaller band again."

As the band is currently in California performing a special album release show, co-lead singer Patterson Hood took time to answer a few questions for The Triangle Beat about the new album and more:

TTB: Where did the name for the new album, English Oceans, come from?

Patterson Hood: It came from one of Cooley's songs.  Not sure what the literal meaning is, but I know it has to do with there being no such thing as English oceans.  It sounded good, looked good written, has a nice ring to it and worked with the painting we used as a cover.  Pretty much the way we title all of our albums.

TTB: The band has worked with David Barbe on several albums now.  What was it like working with him on English Oceans?

PH: This is the 15th album we've worked on together (counting solo records and side projects.)  He just keeps improving his game on all levels.  We're not looking for some producer with a trademark sound, we want someone who knows how to get the most out of our sound, get great performances on the tape, mix it right, etc.  He uses great gear and it's all analogue (2" 16 track, mixed onto 1/2" track). We have a great team assembled.

TTB: Is it hard to believe that English Oceans is the band's 12th album?  In your opinion, what makes this album different?

PH: It's not so much a reinvention as just a really good snapshot of where we are right now.  As people, artists, as a band, etc.  The lineup is stellar and it's kind of firing on all cylinders.  It's special that Cooley came in with so many songs, all great.  That kind of defines this album for me.

TTB: Do you have a favorite song from the new album?

PH: I always love the Cooley songs the most and he's extra on fire this time.  "First Air of Autumn" especially stands out though.  That's just an amazing song to me.  My favorites of my songs is "Grand Canyon."  That could be my best song since, "The Living Bubba," which was a long time ago.

TTB: Being known for relentlessly touring the country, what is it that DBT enjoys about touring?

PH: We had a pretty great break and were away from it long enough to kind of remember what it feels like to miss it.  Also, the band is finally free from all of the turmoil and drama that we went through for several years.  That has made it more fun than it's been in years, maybe forever.

TTB: Having attended several DBT shows, one can't help but notice the passionate and unique fan base the band has.  How would you describe DBT fans?

PH: Our fans are overall the most loyal and great fan base one could ever hope for.  They never cease to amaze me.

TTB: Will this be the first time playing at The Ritz (formerly Disco Rodeo) in Raleigh, NC?

PH: I think it is.  We've been playing in Raleigh since the beginning though.

The Drive-By Truckers will be joined at The Ritz by Blitzen Trapper on Friday, March 14.  Blitzen Trapper originates from Portland, Oregon and is best known for tracks like, Furr and Black River Killer.  Lead by frontman, Eric Earley, the band uses a variety of instruments to produce a catchy country/folk sound.   Blitzen Trapper released their most recent album, VII, in 2013.

Doors open at 8pm.  Show starts at 9pm.  Tickets are still available at

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