20 Of Our Favourite Albums From The First Half Of 2020

A quick trip back through the memory cells and some scanning of my music library has thrown up these twenty artists (in alphabetical order) who have released some of our favourite albums of 2020 so far. There are plenty more I haven’t heard yet, hopefully some gems among them. In the meantime, I hope this throws up a few that you may not have had a chance to check out yet. They come highly recommended by Doubtful Sounds.

Andrew TuttleAlexandra
Baxter DuryThe Chancers
Bob DylanRough And Rowdy Ways
CalifoneEcho Mine
D.C CrossTerabithian
Drive-By TruckersThe Unraveling
Fiona Apple Fetch The Bolt Cutters
James Thomson Golden Exile
Jason Isbell & The 400 UnitReunions
Luke VibertPresents: Amen Andrews + Presents: Modern Rave
MoodymannTaken Away
Neil Young Homegrown
Rolling Blackouts Coastal FeverSideways To New Italy
Rose City BandSummerlong
Shopping All Or Nothing
Suicide SwansThrough The Years
Tony Allen & Hugh MasekelaRejoice
ZelienopleHold You Up

REVIEW: Drive-By Truckers | The Big To-Do

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reviewed for FasterLouder

Drive-By Truckers return with their tenth album, a landmark in any band’s history, proving that they are still remarkably consistent with their quality control and ability to create musical stories that captivate and enthrall the listener.

This time round The Big To-Do loosely deals with crime and (self)-punishment but these heavy subjects don’t necessarily translate into a weighty or depressing listen. Instead the songs weave a winding trail through various characters and situations with the keen eye of observation. You feel like you are learning about the people and the places without having to share the pain.

The songwriting is again split between Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley and Shona Tucker and all three deliver standout moments. Hood’s The Wig He Made Her Wear is a snaking, ominous track riding on a dirty groove. It isn’t often the Truckers sound this dark and sexy but Cooley’s chugging guitar and the drumming of Brad Morgan take the song of a murderous court case to a remarkably infectious place as it rolls on effortlessly.

On You Got Another Tucker takes the band to orchestral country-pop territory with the gently swelling keyboards and a funereal pace that just seems to rise and rise over five minutes. Her voice isn’t overly strong but she uses her sweet tone to great effect with the result not dissimilar to Jenny Lewis.

Cooley tends to comes from a rawer roots place with his songwriting and though the upbeat rock n roll moments he contributes are all good, his piece de resistance is the glorious closing track Eyes Like Glue. It’s a beautiful father and son moment with Cooley giving advice to his doting boy while Wurlitzer and pedal steel gently rise and fall in the background. So many great songs get buried at the end of albums so here’s hoping this one is given its due, or at worst, is a hidden gem for listeners.

Recording recently with Booker T for his solo album Potato Hole has undoubtedly added to the overall sound of this record. The new songs sound more lived-in and the country-rock arrangements more structured and carefully laid out. In the past the band at times sounded overblown like they were pushing the music along but on The Big To-Do the songs flow naturally and there is self-determination in their pacing.

Drive-By Truckers have dabbled in thematic albums and rock operas of a southern sort but here they have stepped back from the grander statements and delivered a solid collection of great songs. Like Richmond Fontaine their stories grow richer and more poignant with each album and like Wilco they have now well and truly settled into a stable line-up which is certainly reflected in the nature and feel of The Big To-Do. Fans will love the new record and newcomers will marvel at the many songwriting highlights.

NEWS: Booker T + Drive By Truckers @ Factory

Booker T & The MGs

Drive By Truckers

Prior to an official announcement it appears that the legendary Booker T Jones and Southern county rockers Drive By Truckers will be playing a sideshow together when they hit Sydney for this years Bluesfest.

Booker T’s Myspace page lists dates at The Factory on April 11 after a show in Melbourne at The Prince of Wales the night before.

His new record  Potato Hole, due out on April 21, is his first solo release in 20 years and it sounds like it could be pretty special.  Booker T’s backing band on the album is Drive By Truckers themselves and Neil Young provides guitar to nine of the ten songs which comprise of seven new originals alongside covers of Tom Waits’ ‘Get Behind The Mule’ OutKast’s ‘Hey Ya’ and Drive By Truckers’ ‘Space City’.

Jones is a master of the Hammond B3 organ and with his backing band The MGs he cut some of the earliest classic funk tracks like Green Onion in the 1960s.  THe band served as the Stax house band for many years, backing the likes of Otis Redding and Carla Thomas.

It isn’t yet clear if the two acts will play on the same stage in April or perform separate sets.  My bet is that DBT will back BT after doing their own set of songs.  One not to be missed.

Check out Booker T and The MGs performing ‘Green Onions’ from an episode of Shindig in 1966.

Drive By Truckers – ‘The Righteous Path’ (audio)



The first run of acts for the Byron Bay Bluesfest 2009 Blues & Roots Festival has been announced.

Leading the pack is Ben Harper and Michael Franti and Spearhead (surprise, surprise). These guys must surely be honorary Australians by now.

Of the other acts, the most notable inclusions in the humble opinion of Doubtful Sounds is Drive By Truckers, Tinariwen, Seasick Steve and Lucinda Williams.  There are many Lucinda fans that were gutted when she cancelled her tour a few years back due to the death of her mother.  Fingers crossed we get sideshows for these and other acts in Sydney and other parts of Australia and New Zealand.

The full line up announced so far is:

Ben Harper and Relentless7, John Butler Trio, Missy Higgins, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Lucinda Williams, Zappa Plays Zappa, Angelique Kidjo, Tinariwen, Eric Bibb, Seasick Steve, Tony Joe White, Ruthie Foster, Blind Boys Of Alabama, Drive-By Truckers, Toni Childs, Ayo, Luka Bloom, Alpha Blondy, The Easy Allstars, Special Beat, Watermelon Slim & The Workers, The Easy All Stars, Special Beat, Augie March, Alabama, Blue King Brown, Saltwater Band, Sonny Landreth, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Hot Club of Cowtown, Eugene Hideaway Bridges, The Bamboos, Watussi, Lowrider, Nu Yorican Nights, Benny Gallagher, Bob Log III., Lowrider, Nu Yorican Nights.

The 20th anniversary of the festival takes place on the 9-13th April 2009 at Belongil Fields and full info on tickets, camping etc can be found at www.bluesfest.com.au

Drive By Truckers: