Fronted by equal parts of Patterson Hood, Jason Isbell and Mike Cooley, the 90-minute set of night number two wasn't nearly the leg-straining test of endurance their last show in L.A. was, but every minute that flew by was chock full of rock more pure than the air up in the Appalachians. Just about every fan in the house was singing along with bittersweet alacrity to songs about broken hearts, broken homes, empty wallets, dark days, good times and good friends.
With six albums to their credit, picking which songs would make it unto the shortened-by-their-standards set must have been anguishing and for Trucker fans, any song not heard is one sorely missed. But with so much strong material to choose from, any DBT set is candy to fans' ears. Songs from their new album, A Blessing and a Curse, peppered the set, such as the wilted-flower hop of “Feb. 14,” and the lovelorn lament of “Gravity's Gone.”
Fan responses were louder, though, when it came to the old material from previous albums, most notably, 2004's, The Dirty South . The reminiscent racing tale “Daddy's Cup,” was slowed a bit and became more reflective as a result, and from the same album, the upbeat question of suicide from “Lookout Mountain,” had the crowd hopping and bobbing in contemplative agreement.
For their encore, the boys (and girl, bassist Shonna Tucker) from Alabama returned to the stage smoking cigarettes and drinking out of a communal Jack Daniels bottle. They picked it back up with singer/guitarist, Isbell's mournful elegy, “Danko/Manuel,” an ode to a couple of gone too soon members of the band. And on “Women Without Whiskey,” Cooley recounted a battle with alcoholism and love.
But missing from the night was singer, Hood's tendency to engage the crowd in good old Southern story telling as he gives backstory to the song about to be played. During the last run in L.A., Hood's sermons were like singing around the campfire, but their absence this time around felt more like a detached rock concert. Still, the Truckers are not to be missed and their passion, fury, anger, love and resentment are the elements that make them an authentic rock band. —Rama Sobhani