That time Jason Isbell told me he was in a Ford Econoline E350 van and his band cracked up at that

FSimani photo By Steve Newton The Drive-By Truckers are probably my favourite band right now. They were also my favourite band back when Jason Isbell was in the lineup. I did my first interview with him in 2007, after he'd left the DBTs and was promoting his debut solo album, Sirens of the Ditch. I … Continue reading That time Jason Isbell told me he was in a Ford Econoline E350 van and his band cracked up at that

The Drive-By Truckers’ 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

By Steve Newton So far I've posted these wacky "20 best songs" lists for some of my fave bands from the '70s, including Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Sabbath, Robin Trower, Van Halen, AC/DC, Blue Oyster Cult, and Thin Lizzy. When I decided to compile one for the Drive-By Truckers, who are … Continue reading The Drive-By Truckers’ 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2016

By Steve Newton Please, God, don’t let any more of my rock heroes die this year. Jeff Beck Loud Hailer The world’s greatest living rock guitarist isn’t resting on his laurels at the age of 72. With Loud Hailer—another term for “megaphone”—Beck delivers a fresh-sounding blast of intense, politically minded rock. His fretwork has never … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2016

The Drive-By Truckers wonder what the hell is wrong with some people

By Steve Newton The Drive-By Truckers have always been a politically minded outfit, but on their brand-new album, American Band, they really waste no time in tackling the big issues of their home country. The opening track, “Ramon Casiano”, tells the fact-based (but little-known) story of former NRA leader Harlon Carter’s shotgun murder, in 1931, … Continue reading The Drive-By Truckers wonder what the hell is wrong with some people

The Drive-By Truckers’ Mike Cooley thinks Donald Trump “might be f***in’ crazy”

john gellman photograph By Steve Newton Drive-By Truckers singer, songwriter, and guitarist Mike Cooley has never been one to pull punches when it comes to politicians who he feels deserve a shot to the head--or a knee to the nuts, for that matter. I've been a huge fan of Cooley, and the band as a … Continue reading The Drive-By Truckers’ Mike Cooley thinks Donald Trump “might be f***in’ crazy”

The Full Susan: Tedeschi talks Derek Trucks, Doyle Bramhall II, David Bowie, and Warren Haynes

By Steve Newton I don't get out to that many concerts anymore. With the Big Six-O on the horizon, I've become a real picky bastard when it comes to live shows. But there are a few select bands I never want to miss when they play Vancouver: the Drive-By Truckers and Gov't Mule are tied at … Continue reading The Full Susan: Tedeschi talks Derek Trucks, Doyle Bramhall II, David Bowie, and Warren Haynes

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2010

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 15, 2010 By Steve Newton Drive-By Truckers The Big To-Do “Birthday Boy” has to be the greatest rock song of the year, and it’s no surprise it was written and sung by the underrated Mike Cooley. The other main DBT tunesmith, Patterson Hood, does his part as well, especially on the booze-fuelled … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2010

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2014

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 10, 2014 By Steve Newton One of the biggest music stories of 2014 concerned the trials and tribulations of AC/DC, which had one original member retire due to dementia and another facing criminal charges. The return of Pink Floyd after two decades also made a few headlines—or garnered a ton … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2014

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2015

By Steve Newton The more I see pictures of headphone-wearing DJs alone on-stage, dickin’ around with laptops and turntables, the more I think: fvck off. Bottle Rockets South Broadway Athletic Club  One of the world’s most underrated bands comes up with a killer album of catchy guitar rock that rivals its stellar ’94 release, The Brooklyn … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2015

Me and My Colonoscopy: the story of a man and his ass

By Steve Newton Normally I just use this site to write about guitar-rock and horror movies and good stuff like that, but I recently had a colonoscopy, so figured I should write about that too, because, you know--what's more hilarious than the thought of somebody pokin' around in your butt, tryna see stuff? And besides, it's like a … Continue reading Me and My Colonoscopy: the story of a man and his ass

American Stars ‘n Bars: Lynyrd Skynyrd and the lure of the Confederate flag

By Steve Newton The Rebel flag. The Southern Cross. Stars and Bars. Whatever you call it, the battle flag of America's former Confederate states has been getting a lot of attention lately—most of it in the wake of last June's mass shooting of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine parishioners were killed by 21-year-old … Continue reading American Stars ‘n Bars: Lynyrd Skynyrd and the lure of the Confederate flag

Drive-By Truckers tone down the Skynyrdisms on Decoration Day

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 7, 2003 By Steve Newton Two years ago the Drive-By Truckers took the music world by surprise with Southern Rock Opera, a sprawling, two-CD concept album about ’70s rock and southern U.S. culture that focused on the legend of doomed Dixie rock act Lynyrd Skynyrd. The independent release … Continue reading Drive-By Truckers tone down the Skynyrdisms on Decoration Day

Patterson Hood on the Drive-By Truckers’ Southern Rock Opera and the true meaning of Skynyrd

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 30, 2003 By Steve Newton It doesn’t seem likely in today’s musical climate that any band would record a 90-minute concept album about 1970s rock and southern U.S. culture, focusing on the legend of doomed Dixie rock act Lynyrd Skynyrd. It’s even more unlikely that such a CD … Continue reading Patterson Hood on the Drive-By Truckers’ Southern Rock Opera and the true meaning of Skynyrd

Gene Odom’s Lynyrd Skynyrd book lacks literary grace and gory details

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 21, 2002 By Steve Newton On their latest CD, Southern Rock Opera, alt-country reprobates the Drive-By Truckers combine sociology, history, and musicology to deliver a concept album about southern rock, and the band they focus on to get their ideas across is Lynyrd Skynyrd. For the uninitiated, … Continue reading Gene Odom’s Lynyrd Skynyrd book lacks literary grace and gory details

The Newt’s top 10 albums of 2014: yep, AC/DC’s on there

AC/DC Rock or Bust With the help of Langley’s Mike Fraser as engineer and mixer, the Australian hard-rock icons create a fitting follow-up to 2008’s hugely successful Black Ice album. Its first-ever album without stalwart rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young shows the band in fine, swaggering form. Pink Floyd  The Endless River The prog-rock legends’ first album in … Continue reading The Newt’s top 10 albums of 2014: yep, AC/DC’s on there

Ear of Newt’s top five Vancouver concerts of 2014

  DBT photo by the Newt For me, it's always a good year for concerts when the Drive-By Truckers can be included in the year-end wrap-up, and their performance at the Vogue Theatre on April 22 was one of the two best gigs I attended in 2014. It helped that the Alabama/Georgia-based band was touring behind one … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s top five Vancouver concerts of 2014

Drive-By Truckers tell of trophy tail wives taking boner-pill rides in Vancouver

photos by the newt By Steve Newton The Drive-By Truckers didn't play all of my fave DBT tunes at the Vogue last night. For example, there was no "A Ghost to Most", singer-guitarist Mike Cooley's jangley indictment of George Bush's macho posturing from the sprawling 2008 Brighter than Creation's Dark album. And neither did I get to hear my … Continue reading Drive-By Truckers tell of trophy tail wives taking boner-pill rides in Vancouver

Mike Cooley’s killer songs are back full-bore on Truckers’ latest masterpiece

photo by Tim Bugbee By Steve Newton The Drive-By Truckers are normally described as being based in the musical stronghold of Athens, Georgia, but when the time comes to call guitarist-vocalist Mike Cooley he picks up the phone at his sweet home in Birmingham, Alabama. Cooley has never actually lived in Athens—“It’s kind of a … Continue reading Mike Cooley’s killer songs are back full-bore on Truckers’ latest masterpiece

Drive-By Truckers’ new disc dedicated to loveable merch guy Craig Lieske

Any fan of the Drive-By Truckers is aware of how cool their merchandise is. A lot of it has to do with the southern-goth artistry of Wes Freed, whose work has long been a staple of the band's album covers, t-shirts, and posters. I've got one proudly displayed in my home hallway, as a matter of … Continue reading Drive-By Truckers’ new disc dedicated to loveable merch guy Craig Lieske

Drive-By Truckers captured at its raw and raucous best on Live from Austin TX

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 12, 2009 By Steve Newton Drive-By Truckers fans had cause for concern when long-time guitarist-vocalist Jason Isbell—one of the group’s main songwriters, along with cofounding singer-guitarists Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley—decided to leave the southern rock–influenced alt-country band in 2007. But the group simply responded by recruiting guitarist and pedal-steel … Continue reading Drive-By Truckers captured at its raw and raucous best on Live from Austin TX

The Drive-By Truckers prove that “Shit Shots Count” on Conan

photo by the Newt Just saw one of my fave bands, the Drive-By Truckers, tearing it up on the Conan O'Brien Show. They went to town on a song called "Shit Shots Count", the opening track from their brand new album English Oceans. The tune is written and sung by Mike Cooley, who I like to … Continue reading The Drive-By Truckers prove that “Shit Shots Count” on Conan

The ghost of Buford Pusser rises on the Drive-By Truckers’ Dirty South

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 21, 2004 By Steve Newton On the back of the booklet that comes with the Drive-By Truckers' latest CD, The Dirty South, there's a photo of a bare-chested toddler standing in front of Buford Pusser's gravestone. For the uninitiated, Pusser was the Tennessee sheriff whose brutal approach to law 'n' … Continue reading The ghost of Buford Pusser rises on the Drive-By Truckers’ Dirty South

Umphrey’s McGee guitarist thinks the jam-band movement is the new rock ‘n’ roll

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 5, 2005 By Steve Newton The annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival is the type of event where jam-happy bands from across the States converge to spread the gospel of anything-goes improv. Umphrey's McGee makes its fourth appearance at the three-day Tennessee fest this June, joining the likes of the … Continue reading Umphrey’s McGee guitarist thinks the jam-band movement is the new rock ‘n’ roll

Ex-Trucker Isbell heeds the siren call of the ditch

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 25, 2007 By Steve Newton When the Straight hooks up with former Drive-By Truckers guitarist-vocalist Jason Isbell on his cellphone, he and his backing band are trying to escape from Manhattan, searching for the Holland Tunnel enroute to a gig at Pennsylvania State College. A casual query about the type … Continue reading Ex-Trucker Isbell heeds the siren call of the ditch

Drive-By Truckers capture a raw, backwoods vibe

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 25, 2008 By Steve Newton Along with the kind of gritty, triple-guitar southern rock their fans adore, the Drive-By Truckers are known for delivering the goods in the album-art department. For the last seven years, their recordings have featured the southern-gothic work of Virginia-based Wes Freed, whose dark depictions of … Continue reading Drive-By Truckers capture a raw, backwoods vibe

Booker T. Jones gives in to his urge to rock

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 17, 2009 By Steve Newton In the music business, having the right manager is huge, as Hammond B3 legend Booker T. Jones recently learned. Before recording his latest album, Potato Hole, Jones found a new manager in Dave Bartlett, who hooked him up with the Drive-By Truckers, the raggedy southern-rock outfit … Continue reading Booker T. Jones gives in to his urge to rock

Drive-By Truckers make a departure

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 9, 2011 By Steve Newton Last year the Drive-By Truckers released The Big To-Do, a raucous collection of southern-fried alt-country tunes highlighted by the exuberant single “Birthday Boy”. A totally different vibe typifies the band’s new album, Go-Go Boots, which is surprising since its material was recorded during the same sessions as … Continue reading Drive-By Truckers make a departure