I Had a Dream

Tomorrow night Julia and I are going to The Wilma to see Drive-By Truckers, with the opening slot taken by Heartless Bastards. One one hand I’m really excited, and on the other I’m a little anxious.

There was a time a few years ago when I would say the Truckers were one of my favorite bands. It was 2004 and The Dirty South had just come out, the third-in-a-row of absolutely fantastic country/rock masterpieces (the other two being Southern Rock Opera and Decoration Day). To this day, the opening cut of that record, “Where the Devil Don’t Stay,” is a song that would make my all-time favorites list. Top to bottom that record continues to be one I go back to again and again, and I love every song.

The follow-up, A Blessing and a Curse, left me pretty cold. Then there was turmoil in the band. Jason Isbell, arguably my favorite songwriter in the group, left. Other players were in and out of the lineup, and the band did collaborations with other artists. Bass player (and Isbell’s ex-wife) Shonna Tucker took on a larger role as singer and songwriter. Brighter Than Creation’s Dark was a real dud to my ears, though the next one, The Big To-Do, while not a return to form interested me more than the previous couple. The new one, Go-Go Boots, out just a month or so, isn’t working for me at all, despite repeated forced listens. The band just seems to have lost the fire. The songs just plod along, the records tend to be too long, and leave me bored and uninterested. I’m hoping the live show will revitalize my interest, because I’ve never seen them and I’ve heard they always deliver.

So in my dream, I’m front and center during the band’s show. Most concerts these days have signs all over the place saying “No Cameras!” but people always have them anyway, especially on their cellphones. Usually it says right on the tickets, though I checked mine and it doesn’t say that. Anyway, in my dream, the band is playing and front man/main dude Patterson Hood stops a song and starts yelling at a fan down front for taking a picture. He goes off all in a tizzy and this young fan gets thrown out. In the dream that pisses me off, so I start heckling Patterson. “Oh, look at the big rock star, doesn’t want his picture taken! How rock n’ roll! How punk rock that is!” and on and on. Finally he gets all pissed off and dives into the crowd with swinging fists and we start going at it in brawl-like fashion. Then I woke up.

It kind of cracks me up. First off, I’m not one of those tools to heckle a band from the crowd. And for all I know, Patterson Hood isn’t the type to get all bent because someone has a camera. But just the idea that I would dream this means all my concerns over the show are working their way into my subconscious. This rock n’ roll fandom thing is a big deal, people!

I am stoked to see Heartless Bastards though. I really dig this band, and I’m thrilled to see them getting a spot on a decent tour. Can’t wait to see them!

I’ll report on Wednesday and Thursday as to how the show goes.

7 thoughts on “I Had a Dream”

  1. >I played Southern Rock Opera to death. One of my favorite CDs. But I did lose touch with them over the years and now I understand why reading your piece. "Ronnie and Neil" was my go to song in the day.

  2. >The Truckers, in my estimation, are still good live, though they've lost it in the studio since Isbell's departure. The main reason being, again, just my opinion, is that Patterson Hood is allowed to write songs for the band. It should be the Mike Cooley Show with everyone else playing second fiddle, as he's the only Trucker with good songs still in him, though Shonna could yet develop into a better songwriter. Hood's chops went by the wayside yet he still grabs the lion's share in studio. And since you can't fall back on former success when recording new songs, that's a pretty big problem for a band to have.

  3. >Ha, thanks, Rachel.Kent, I pretty much agree with you. Cooley's songs are the best, and while Shonna's are okay, they aren't particularly unique; when I hear her sing, I feel like I've heard it a thousand times before. I understand bands need to change and evolve (and I'm no real fan of Isbell's solo stuff, so clearly he isn't up to be "the guy" for an entire band either), but this band definitely has seemed to become the Patterson Hood show. Understandable, since it's kind of "his" band, but the dude should still recognize that maybe a record could actually be better at 45-50 minutes with 3 or 4 fewer of his lesser songs.

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