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Published: 2003/02/07
by Margot Main

Drive By Truckers with the Mother Truckers, Slim’s, San Francisco- 1/25

East met the South in the West at Slim's in San Francisco on Saturday, January 25, 2003. Music fans from the Bay Area’s fabulous
cross-pollinated live music fan base filled the floor to comfortable capacity. This night,
solar powered sinners and redeemed rockers stood on the dark wood floor ready for a night of hard driving southern shots and road worthy rock

The Mother Truckers celebrated the release of their first CD, _Something Worth Dying For_, and opened for the Drive By Truckers who played a couple of hours of original songs including many from their acclaimed indy CD, Southern Rock Opera. Teal Collins’ (gold and platinum albums for her work on Shanice (Motown) and Third Eye Blind’s album Blue) voice radiated golden Marin Country sunshine as The Mother Truckers opened with "You Belong To Me." Her voice and million dollar smile could be a sweetly pitched solo instrument. In tandem with co-songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Josh Zee (Protein) her voice harmonized with his; her ukulele tuned with his guitar. With Dana Miller on drums and Pete Franco on bass a slight variation of the standard country sound was created. What was clearly audible was a distinct California rock-country sound. It had a "mineral" sound; like the band rediscovered it in the airwaves of an old mining shaft of an abandoned town somewhere near upper-northern California and set it free in their music. While the set was too short for them to fully engage in straight-on jams, the musical nuggets they tossed to the crowd were well received. For example, in the song, "Behind The Bleachers," as Teal launched into her "Harlow"-esque yodel she did so with a passionate edge that demonstrated willing yet raw control. Zee’s guitar took off into ricocheting riffs with drums and bass holding the reigns as the band got set to giddyup. Whereas The Mother Truckers’ tone was deftly rolling grooves embedded in rock structures; Drive By Truckers pulled up in their John Deere tractors and plowed right through them. Patterson Hood wasted no time rallying the crowd to have a real good party. With a triple shot of guitars (Hood, Cooley, Isbell) and straight-eight cylinder rhythm (Earl Hicks-bass and Brad Morgan-drums) it didn’t take long for fans to get to their happy space. In true Southern style, the substance of the stories being sung were as meaty as the music they were sung to. Hood’s raspy voice punctuated evocative lyrics and added a layer of gravel over thick rhythm. Cooley and Isbell played their guitars like swashbucklers set loose on the open highway. Throughout the night, Hood broke from vocals to join in with his fast and sweaty fret work. Whether the words invoked images of 70’s rock concerts or chances lost to forever; Drive By Truckers’ music gave power to the sometimes funny, often provoking stories. Somehow, after the last note was played, it wasn’t just the end of the show – it was the feeling of having to say "bye" to an old good friend.

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