DBT @ T5 (more by Chris La Putt)
Jason Isbell has a show coming up in NY, but his old band Drive By Truckers are playing not that far away at Starland Ballroom in NJ even sooner - on January 22nd to be exact, and tickets are still on sale. All tour dates, and a very long "Best of 2008" by Patterson, below...
DBT @ T5 (more by Chris La Putt)
It's been quite the year.Drive By Truckers - 2009 Tour Dates
Damn, there's no way to phrase it that isn't understated or ridiculously lacking.
So I'll pass on restating the obvious and mention a few simple pleasures that made this year special.
"Man On Wire" (movie) - An incredible film that pushed all my buttons. Maybe it's my fear of heights, my obsession with skyscrapers, my fascination with the crazy artistic temperament and a criminal disposition but this one had it all for me. Probably my favorite movie I saw all year. I'm looking forward to "Gran Torino" and "Milk".
Speaking of Harvey Milk (the band not the slain activist / councilman), their most recent album "Life... The Best Game In Town" Rocks as hard as any album ever made, including their other great albums. They were great back in the day, disappeared for nearly a decade and damn if they're not much better than ever in my op. "Life... The Best Game In Town" is stellar and will surely be very high on my year end if I get around to doing one.
Rocking just as hard, but in the polar opposite way is Jucifer's "L'Autrichienne" which coos and purrs and sings and yells and goes from sweet whispers to some kind of wild beast, sometimes within the same song. Ten years ago I predicted that Jucifer would become one of the biggest bands in the world. Obviously that never happened. What I wouldn't have predicted is that a decade later they would still be out there slugging it out on the road for hundreds of nights a year and making their best album. Jucifer and Harvey Milk are the ying ad yang of Georgia (or former Georgian) hard rock. Both are absolutely essential if you love your Rock VERY HARD.
Centro-matic have long been touted as my favorite band and this year saw an excellent new album for them. Six months in and it's still a-growin' on me and "24" is the hit single they always deserved. (That damned perfect world is out there somewhere). Their latest "Dual Hawks" is a double album split with their alter-ego South San Gabriel. The big news is that as great as the CM album, the SSG one is even better and possibly my favorite album of the year. They toured all year doing sets by both bands and my touring schedule cock-blocked me from getting to see them a single time, but alas they will be performing both as our special guests at our Athens GA 40 Watt Club Homecoming Weekend next month and I can' wait.
James McMurtry has been writing great songs and making very good records for nearly 2 decades. As good as they've always been, he's been on quite the roll lately. His last 3 albums have been his best yet and this year's offering "Just Us Kids" is a fantastic album with some of the finest songwriting of the year. Of special note, "Ruby and Carlos" is as fine as any Townes' song.
I saw Alejandro Escovedo play about half a dozen times this year and all of them were incredible. The festival show in Milwaukee was absolutely incredible and the late night Continental Club show in Austin after ACL Fest last september was probably the best show I saw all year.
Also great was Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band's Philips Arena show in Atlanta. I generally hate arena shows and seldom go to any of them anymore, but I lucked into some amazing seats and Lord knows he's still an unbelievably amazing performer. Long-time keyboardist Danny Federici passed away the week before and it was one of their first shows back after the funeral. It was moving and transcendent. I cried (along with about 20,000 others) then I danced all night as he kept pulling out all the stops. Probably my 2nd favorite Bruce show yet (and I've been going since I was 16 in 1981, which is still my favorite show of all time).
Touring with The Hold Steady was everything I hoped it would be and much more. What an amazing band. EVERYDAMNEDNIGHT!
Still really love their latest album and upon hearing a couple of new ones at soundchecks, can't wait till the next one. "Stay Positive" was a grower that will inevitably make my year-end list. The title cut would be my single of the year if it had been released as one and "Slapped Actress" is one of the best songs of the year.
Right before we left for that tour, my wife and I got a babysitter so we could go see Alejandro play at The 40 Watt. We got there about five minutes after he finished (nobody ever plays early in Athens...) but were blown away by a magnificent set by Magnolia Electric Co. Spent 40 bucks I didn't have to buy their box album (don't know the title, but it comes in a wooden box and has 4 albums and a DVD included) and have played it non-stop ever since.
Still loving the Eccentric Soul series and the new one is as good or better than any of them (#21 I think). Really crazy about the "Take Me To The River" collection also. It has some songs that I already had but still love hearing whenever but I'm blown away by some of the rare gems it also has. Marcell Strong's "Mumble In My Ear" is worth the rice of admission alone. AMAZING!!!
I first met Anna Kramer years ago back when DBT played The Star Bar a few times a year and she was always there. Saw her play a few times back then. A tiny little girl with a great big voice, a great attitude and just learning how to play guitar. I always liked her and figured she had some raw talent to develop. This year I was sent her new album "The Rustic Contemporary Sounds of Anna Kramer and The Lost Cause and have played it all year long. Great songs and it Rocks like hell. Kudos!
Lil Wayne''s album was one of the few hip hop albums that I liked this year. Keeping it alive in it's waning days despite Kanye's best attempts to kill it.
I thoroughly enjoy The Raconteurs latest. Kudos to Jack White for showing everyone that is is still possible to be a Rock Star and actually be cool here in this post Rock age.
I love the She and Him album and can't wait to hear M. Ward's new album next year.
Kuroma released "Paris" this year. I had an advance copy (not even sure f it was mixed yet) a year or so ago and absolutely wore it out. Hearing it all mastered and packaged lives up to what I thought about it all along. A great damned album.
His former band The Whigs made a great fun album this year too (plus they bring it live).
Tina Fey helped make Saturday Night Live relevant again this year. I hope they can keep it going without her and Amy.
Rachel Maddow proved to be the surprise hit of TV this year and what a great fucking surprise that is. Her show is one of the best, most intelligent and thought provoking things on the air in a long time and along with Daily Show and Colbert Report responsible for me continuing to keep the cable hooked up to the house. Extra kudos for her wearing a Lucero shirt in her Newsweek spread.
I've really grown fond of goofy ole Chris Matthews too. Somehow I can't picture him in a Lucero shirt though.
At the movies, somehow Pixar has made one of the best films of the year (easily in my top 5) for two years in a row. I couldn't wait to get home from tour to take my daughter to see "Wall E" ("about a dirty robot" she said) and as it was with last years "Ratatouille", Mommy and I loved it just as much as she did. Making a film that is so enjoyable to such a wide range of ages is truly a nearly lost art and at this moment in time no one on earth does it better.
REM's new album "Accelerate" was a monumental return to form (in this case, form being around 1986 Life's Rich Pageant, as this album sounds more like it's followup than it's actual followup). Extra kudos for using it's 38 minute running length as an excuse to release the vinyl version as a 2 record set to be played at 45 RPMS. It literally leaps out of your speakers and sounds fantastic.
Even better is the album from Peter Buck's 'other' band. "The Baseball Project" is an album of baseball related songs he has helped put together with other Minus 5 conspirator Scott McCaughy. With songs like "Ted Fucking Williams", "The Death of Big Ed Delahanty" (who I think went over Niagara Falls or something) and the hilarious song "The Yankee Flipper" which name drops REM no less. It's so good I might embrace baseball next year.
Doing what I do, I sometimes get to hear next years albums a little early. Looking forward to great new releases from Dexateens (Singlewide is their best album yet) Bloodkin, and a fine disc from Will Johnson and Jason Molina.
This year, I got to see my Dad get inducted into the Musician's Hall of Fame (as part of The Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section). He was inducted into the second class along side of Booker T. and The MG's, Duane Eddy, The Crickets, The Memphis Horns, and legendary producer (and fellow Florence AL native) Billy Sherrill. The show was incredible featuring performances by most of the inductees, Keith Richards, George Jones, Percy Sledge, The MSRS and a jaw-dropping incredible set by Booker T. and the MG's which was surely a highlight performance of the year. If you're visiting Nashville, I highly urge you to check out the museum. It's a blocl from the much bigger and well-anointed Country music Hall of Fame, but the Musician's Hall of Fame more than makes up for it in charm and focus.
The legendary Booker T. Jones has an album coming out next year and DBT is his backup band for it. It's all instrumental and really great. We cut the basic tracks for it here in Athens back in September. Neil Young is playing lead guitar on it. DBT will be doing some shows this year playing with Booker, including our first ever Australian tour. I'm working hard towards finally releasing my second solo album "Murdering Oscar (and other love songs)" in the late spring or early summer. DBT is making another new album (although it might be early 2010 before it comes out). We start tracking songs for it in a couple of weeks.
2009 is upon is and I'm both excited and a little terrified at it's prospects. I'll be in DC for the inauguration. The economy is tanking and I dont know if anyone will be going to shows this year, but we'll still be out there (some) slugging away because it's what we do and it's what keeps us feling alive. I'm truly thankful for that as I am for my beautiful family and my very dear friends.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS and please have a safe, healthy and happy 2009.
Thu Jan 15 Athens GA 40 Watt Nuci's Space Benefit with The Whigs and South San Gabriel
Fri Jan 16 Athens GA 40 Watt w/ Centro-Matic
Sat Jan 17 Athens GA 40 Watt w/ Centro-Matic
Wed Jan 21 New Haven, CT Toad's Place +
Thu Jan 22 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom +
Fri Jan 23 Baltimore, MD The Recher +
Sat Jan 24 Richmond, VA The National *
Thu Jan 29 Knoxville, TN Valarium *
Fri Jan 30 Asheville, NC Orange Peel *
Sat Jan 31 Asheville, NC Orange Peel *
Thu Feb 19 Charleston, SC MUSIC FARM *
Fri Feb 20 Washington, DC 9:30 CLUB *
Sat Feb 21 Washington, DC 9:30 CLUB *
Sun Feb 22 Charleston WV MOUNTAIN STAGE
Tue Feb 24 Lexington KY THE DAME +
Wed Feb 25 Milwaukee WI TURNER HALL +
Thu Feb 26 St. Louis MO PAGEANT Hayes Carll
Fri Feb 27 Memphis TN NEW DAISY Hayes Carll
Sat Feb 28 Tuscaloosa, AL JUPITER BAR & GRILL Hayes Carll
Fri Apr 24 New Orleans LA NEW ORLEANS JAZZ AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL Drive-By Truckers Featuring Booker T. Jones
* w/ Bloodkin
+ w/ Don Chambers and GOAT