The Athens-based Southern Rock act Drive-By Truckers burned rubber in Macon, Georgia on 11-11-11 at the Cox Capitol theater. The show opens their Fall 2011 tour. It was a delightful thrillbilly experience. With songs reminiscent of Aesop’s fables, DBT's writing style waxes fables that are markedly Southern. With guitar licks written by the ghost of Carl Perkins and their distinctive moaning vocals, it's hard not to feel like the law could come in and bust the show up at any moment. If the emotion in the Trucker’s sound isn’t real, then nothing is. The stories they spin bleed the same blood of all the folk legends that you hear growing up in rural Alabama (or Georgia in this columnist’s case). It captures the kind of hard-assed, shoot-to-thrill attitude that used to rule the rural South. I should note in some places, that attitude still rules. The band is skilled at always coming back to the moral of the story in their lyrics. In the song “Where the Devil Don’t Stay” from 2004’s Dirty South, they sing, “My Daddy played poker on a stump in the woods back when the world was gray/ Before black and white went and chose up sides and gave a little bit of both their way/ the only blood that’s any cleaner is the blood that’s blue or greener/ Without either you just get meaner and the blood you gave gives you away.”
So much could be said about that stanza alone, summing up the pre-WW2 mentality of work and prosperity in the South. If their music was a cocktail, one would find a hot copper wire and squeeze out one part William Faulkner, one Part Hank Williams, and just a touch of Jesco White. Said cocktail would be best served in the back of a hot '67 Charger.
The band, which has been together since 1998, has released 9 albums so far. They have a small, but tight following. It is no accident that Macon hosts a tribe of their followers. The kind of stuff Outlaw Country acts like Drive-By Truckers sing about is the kind of stuff that actually happens in places like the Hummingbird, Lake Juliet, or any forgotten place in Twiggs county where the liquor stills never quit. Both opener Alabama Shakes and Drive-By Truckers played with the sort of electicrity that shocks the system only like white lightning can. Finishing the job with an epic three-song encore suite culminating in the teenage love-letter to music, "Let There Be Rock", the Truckers left us thoroughly satisfied.
The Cox is the perfect atmosphere for DBT. Cold fall night. Standing room only. Grab a beer in the back. DBT isn’t the band Macon needs; they are the band Macon deserves. With a strength that just won’t quit, and a hard-working attitude, their music will surely be played for years. They are truly a legendary band-- storytellers of the real South. If you want to know what real, honest-to-God country music sounds like, then listen to DBT. If you want to know what it felt like to hear those old stories, listen to DBT. If you want to hear someone who feels like you feel, listen to DBT. I really don’t know why you are still reading this. Bless your heart, just go look them up on Spotify. Go!
Drive By Truckers rock Macon