6:30 p.m. Saturday
It's hard to match the work ethic of a band that has released three first-rate albums this year. Last April, the group recorded with legendary organist Booker T. Jones (of Booker T. and the M.G.s) on the instrumental record Potato Hole. The album shows how well the band melds with other musicians, an asset also proven on the record it did with soul singer Bettye Lavette. This fall, the band released the CD/DVD Drive-By Truckers Live From Austin, TX, and a rarities collection The Fine Print. All the songs on Fine Print could have fit in with any one of their previous records. It boasts not only the songwriting skills of guitarist Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley on tunes such as "George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues" and "TVA," but it features rocking covers of Tom Petty's "Rebels" (a song almost made for the group) and Warren Zevon's "Play It All Night Long." The live record is a document of the band as a well-tuned machine of rock 'n' roll with songs spanning its career, including the definitive Hood ode to his mother and truck-driving stepfather "18 Wheels of Love."
In the history of rock 'n' roll, there are bands and musicians who seem touched by a muse. The Rolling Stones from Beggar's Banquet to Exile on Main Street, the Beatles from Revolver to Abbey Road and David Bowie from Hunky Dory through Diamond Dogs could do no wrong. The Drive-By Truckers have been on that kind of streak since recording The Southern Rock Opera in 2002. And the band's live performances are equally impressive. From the wild three hours shows at the beginning of the decade with loud guitars and onstage Jack Daniels guzzling to the latest show at Tipitina's before Hurricane Katrina to their set at Voodoo a couple years ago, when they did an elegant version of "Louisiana 1927," the Truckers have put on some epic sets in New Orleans, and there is ample reason to expect the band to keep on trucking this weekend. — David Kunian