One year ago, I had the pleasure of attending the world premier of a documentary film about the Drive By Truckers called The Secret To A Happy Ending. It was a very special occasion, as the band as well as the film's director were on hand to speak before the movie. I was also able to meet the guys and get a poster signed. I've now had the opportunity to interact directly with Patterson Hood on three occasions and he's always been extremely cool.
The film chronicles the band's activities between 2005 and 2007, which was a very tumultuous time for them, as these months included the firing of guitarist and songwriter Jason Isbell. Of course this drama also makes for a great movie. After some appearances at various film festivals and a number of sporadic showings around the country, the movie is finally being released on DVD on February 15th. The website describes the documentary with the following:
THE SECRET TO A HAPPY ENDING documents the Drive-By Truckers and their congregation of fans as they explore tales of human weakness and redemption. Filmmaker Barr Weissman followed the band during three critical years of touring and recording — years in which the band struggles to overcome the trauma of divorce and survives a near breakup. SECRET combines band interviews, behind-the-scenes footage on the road and in the studio, along with legendary live performances. Reflective of the band’s roots in Alabama and Georgia, the film explores the changing American South — its tangled past and strange beauty.
You can read the Washington Post's review of the movie here.
A few weeks back I went to see Jason Isbell play the 9:30 Club with his new band the 400 Unit. First and foremost, they are an amazing rock band and they are one of the few to still carry the torch of real southern rock. They absolutely killed it on a version of Neil Young's 'Like A Hurricane'. While I always enjoyed seeing Jason in concert as a member of DBT, he was always the third wheel in that group. He had the opportunity to step up on the few numbers he wrote for the group, but on most other songs he took a back seat to guitarists and singers Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley. There was just too much talent on stage to feature all of them. What's now great about seeing Jason with his own band is that he's clearly the star and he gets to really show off just how good he is as a singer, songwriter, and guitar player. I'm very much looking forward to hearing his band's new album, set to be released in April.
While there are so many great song's of Jason's to pick from, I'll share with you the one that stands out the most for me. It's 'Goddamn Lonely Love' from the Drive By Trucker's album The Dirty South: