After founding member and guitarist Jason Isbell departed Drive-By Truckers in 2007, the band scheduled some acoustic shows, stripping down its sound and refocusing on songcraft. They also brought founding member and steel guitarist Jeff Neff back into the fold.
The result was Brighter Than Creation's Dark, the latest album by the Athens, Ga. rockers. A diverse and complex record featuring songs by all three of the group's songwriters — Mike Cooley, Patterson Hood and Shonna Tucker — Brighter touts the band's combination of classic country, R&B and soul music. This set features the Truckers performing in a special acoustic arrangement at Mountain Stage in Charleston, W.Va., with keyboardist Jay Gonzalez and drummer Brad Morgan.
In between group projects, the members of Drive-By Truckers were asked to accompany re-emergent soul singer Bettye LaVette on her album Scene of the Crime. Recently, the band also recorded Potato Hole, a new album with legendary keyboardist and producer Booker T (of Booker T. & the MG's).
Cooley and Tucker handle most of the vocals on this set, as Hood was resting due to a case of pneumonia. Tucker sings a tribute to one of the group's mentors, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Spooner Oldham, who co-wrote "Lonely Women Make Good Lovers" with Freddie Weller. Hood takes the lead on the closing track, "Opening Act."