Brighter Than Creation's Dark

Brighter Than Creation's Dark

Release Date: January 22, 2008 - New West Records
LYRICS    SONG BY SONG   CREDITS

A 19-song 75+ minute southern gothic rock n' roll masterpiece. Featuring songs from Patterson, Cooley and Shonna. The album also features contributions from Legendary Muscle Shoals keyboardist Spooner Oldham. Featuring the songs "The Righteous Path", "3 Dimes Down" and "Purgatory Line".

TRACK LISTING

1. Two Daughters And A Beautiful Wife
2. Three Dimes Down
3. The Righteous Path
4. I'm Sorry Huston
5. Perfect Timing
6. Daddy Needs A Drink
7. Self Destructive Zones
8. Bob
9. Home Field Advantage
10. The Opening Act
11. Lisa's Birthday
12. That Man I Shot
13. The Purgatory Line
14. The Home Front
15. Checkout Time In Vegas
16. You And Your Crystal Meth
17. Goode's Field Road
18. A Ghost To Most
19. The Monument Valley

LYRICS

Two Daughters And A Beautiful Wife

When he reached the gates of heaven
He didn't understand
He knew that folks were coming over
Or was it all a dream?
Was it all a crazy dream?

He saw them playing there before him
What were they doing there?
It felt like home, It must be alright
Or is it just a dream?
Is it just a crazy dream?

Memories replay before him
All the tiny moments of his life
Laying round in bed on a Saturday morning
Two daughters and a wife
Two daughters and a beautiful wife

Meanwhile on Earth his friends came over
Shocked and horrified
Dolls and flowers at the storefront
Everybody cried
Everybody cried and cried

Is there vengeance up in heaven?
Are those things left behind?
Maybe everyday is Saturday morning
Two daughters and a wife
Two daughters and a beautiful wife
Two daughters and a beautiful wife

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Patterson Hood - Acoustic Guitar and Vocal / Shonna Tucker - Bass and Harmony / Mike Cooley - Banjo / John Neff - Pedal Steel / Brad Morgan - Drum - Spooner Oldham - Piano / Scott Danbom (courtesy of Centro-matic) - Fiddle

3 Dimes Down

It was a straight shot
All it took was luck to not get caught
I laid three dimes down and the machine wanted 25 cents
In the back seat her and a friend,
one out the window and the other on the other end
One belt loop away from Sunday night's news

If the part about being who he was didn't help Tom get loose,
what's a guy without a T. gonna get? Totally screwed,
while chicken wing puke eats the candy apple red off his Corvette
Three dimes down and 25 cents shy of a slice of the Doublemint twins
Come back baby, Rock and Roll never forgets

Mike Cooley / Drive-By Truckers © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Mike Cooley - Guitars and Vocals / Shonna Tucker - Bass and Harmony Vocal / Patterson Hood - Guitar and High Harmony / John Neff - Guitars and Slide Guitar / Brad Morgan - Drums / Spooner Oldham - Wurlitzer and Hammond B-3 / David Barbe - Guitar and Hammer on a Mic. Stand

The Righteous Path

I got a brand new car that drinks a bunch of gas
I got a house in a neighborhood that's fading fast
I got a dog and a cat that don't fight too much
I got a few hundred channels to keep me in touch
I got a beautiful wife and three tow-headed kids
I got a couple of big secrets I'd kill to keep hid
I don't know God but I fear his wrath
I'm trying to keep focused on the righteous path

I got a couple of opinions that I hold dear
A whole lot of debt and a whole lot of fear
I got an itch that needs scratching but it feels alright
I got the need to blow it out on Saturday night
I got a grill in the backyard and a case of beers
I got a boat that ain't seen the water in years
More bills than money, I can do the math
I'm trying to keep focused on the righteous path

I'm trying to keep focused as I drive down the road
On the ditches and the curves and the heavy load
Ain't bitching bout things that aren't in my grasp
Just trying to hold steady on the righteous path

There's this friend of mine I've known all my life
Who can't get it right no matter how hard he tries
He's got kids he don't see and several ex-wives
And a list of bad decisions bout eight miles wide
Trouble with the law and the IRS
And where he'll get the money's anybody's guess
He's a long way off but if you was to ask
He'd say he's trying to stay focused on the righteous path

Trying to keep focused as we drive down the road
Like we did back in High School before the world turned cold
Now the brakes are thin and the curves are fast
We're trying to hold steady on the righteous path

We're hanging out and we're hanging on
We're trying the best we can to keep keeping on
We got messed up minds for these messed up times
And it's a thin thin line separating his from mine

Trying to hold steady on the righteous path
80 miles and hour with a worn out map
No time for self-pity or self-righteous crap
Trying to stay focused on the righteous path

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Patterson Hood - Guitars and Vocal - Mike Cooley - Guitars / John Neff - Guitars and Pedal Steel / Shonna Tucker - Bass / Brad Morgan - Drums

I'm Sorry Huston

I just met Huston, He was lookin' for your door.
He said he'd like to buy a horse.
I saw he had a map of the county in his hand.
He had your house circled red.
Cherokee is too damn far to come back by and ol' Huston needs a ride.

You just missed Huston, He was lookin' so confused.
I guess he really needed you.
He was old and tired and lookin' for the truth.
I guess ol' Huston's got the blues.
Cherokee is too damn far to go back dry, I promise Huston I'll try.

You ain't givin' up on lookin' for your thing,
even if you probably should.
I'm sorry Huston. I ain't got what you need
but I promise you I'd help you if I could.

Shonna Tucker / Drive-By Truckers © (BMI)

Shonna Tucker - Bass and Lead Vocal / Mike Cooley - Guitar and Harmony / Patterson Hood - Guitar and Harmony / John Neff - Pedal Steel / Brad Morgan - Drums / Spooner Oldham - Hammond B3

Perfect Timing

Here I am again perfect timing,
the strings are ringing and the words are rhyming
I used to hate the fool in me, but only in the morning
now I tolerate him all day long

Out on the highway, I hear the moaning
That low and lonesome whisper,
you only know from longing,
through those naked trees at the windows glowing orange,
taking over that cold shoulder racing by

I might have known before
if I'd got this old before I thought I got too cool to give a damn
That who you see in dreams at night seem to spend their afterlives
trying hard to live the last one down

Here I am again perfect timing,
the strings are ringing and the words are rhyming
I used to hate the fool in me, but only in the morning,
now I tolerate him all day long

Mike Cooley / Drive-By Truckers © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Mike Cooley - Acoustic Guitars, Harmonica and Vocals / John Neff - Lead Acoustic Guitar / Patterson Hood - Acoustic Guitar / Shonna Tucker - Bass / Brad Morgan - Drum

Daddy Needs A Drink

Daddy needs a drink to deal with all the beauty
To deal with all the madness to keep from blowing up
Daddy needs a drink to calm down the badness
To execute his gladness on the fullness of his cup

Daddy needs a drink to keep the wheels from rubbing
To compensate for nothing or nothing going on

Daddy needs a drink so Mama fix one quick
Pour it nice and strong with your cleaning outfit on

Daddy needs a drink to hem in his demons
To hear through baby screaming or the TV set turned on
There ain't nothing on the radio like the wave my transmitter's on
Put that drinking jacket on and enjoy a little fog

Patterson Hood / Cooley, Hood, Morgan, Neff, Tucker and Spooner Oldham © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Patterson Hood - Acoustic Guitar and Vocal / Shonna Tucker - Bass and Harmony / Mike Cooley - Electric Guitar / John Neff - Pedal Steel / Spooner Oldham - Wurlitzer / Brad Morgan - Drums

Self Destructive Zones

It was 1990 give or take I don't remember
when the news of revolution hit the air
The girls hadn't even started taking down our posters
when the boys started cutting off their hair
The radio stations all decided angst was finally old enough
it ought to have a proper home
Dead fat or rich nobody's left to bitch
about the goings-on in self destructive zones

The night the practice room caught fire
there were rumors of a dragon headed straight for Muscle Shoals
"Stoner tries to save an amplifier"
and it's like the dragon's side of the story is never told
When the dream and the man and the girls hang around long enough
to make you think it's coming true,
it's easier to let it all die a fairy tale,
than admit that something bigger is passing through

The hippies rode a wave putting smiles on faces,
that the devil wouldn't even put a shoe
Caught between a generation dying from its habits,
and another thinking rock and roll was new
Till the pawn shops were packed like a backstage party,
hanging full of pointy ugly cheap guitars
And the young'uns all turned to karaoke,
hanging all they're wishes upon disregarded stars

My Grandaddy's shotgun is locked in a closet
and it never shot a thing that could have lived
An old man decided that you couldn't choose your poison
till you're nearly old enough to vote for him
They turned what was into something so disgusting
even wild dogs would disregard the bones
Dead fat or rich nobody's left to bitch
about the goings' on in self destructive zones

Mike Cooley / Drive-By Truckers © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Mike Cooley - Guitars and Lead Vocals / Patterson Hood - Guitars and Harmony Vocals / John Neff - Guitars / Shonna Tucker - Bass / Brad Morgan - Drums / Spooner Oldham - Wurlitzer

Bob

Bob goes to church every Sunday, Every Sunday that the fish ain't biting
Bob never has to have dinner with the preacher,
cause Bob never bothered getting married
He likes to drink a beer or two every now and again,
he always had more dogs than he ever had friends
Bob ain't light in the loafers, he might kneel but he never bends over

Bob takes care of his mama, she's the only one he lets call him Robert
She don't drive anymore so he takes her to the store
and keeps her yard looking just like she wants it
Every week at the beauty shop Bob's mama hears
of another woman made another man disappear
Robert ain't exactly scared of women, he's just got his own way of living

Bob's still got an antenna on a pole
two channels come in, two more come and go
He used to watch the news but he don't anymore,
ain't none of it new it's the same as before
He figures all any of it's any good for is keeping every bored
till there ain't nobody like Bob anymore

Bob takes care of his mama
she's a mess but he feels like he oughta
How big a mess today? Ask Bob he'll say,
"She's a big one and she's gonna be a lotta" He likes to drink a beer or two every now and again,
he always had more dogs than he ever had friends
Bob ain't light in the loafers, he might kneel but he never bends over

Mike Cooley / Drive-By Truckers © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Mike Cooley - Acoustic Guitar and Vocals / John Neff - Lap Steel and Pedal Steel / Patterson Hood - Guitar / Shonna Tucker - Bass / Spooner Oldham - Piano / Brad Morgan - Drums

Home Field Advantage

You ain't much of a player and you ain't playin' for free.
You just know all the chatter and you've been chattin' at me.
Now you're takin' me down with a home field advantage.
And you're callin' me out with a home field advantage.

You may have thrown me a curveball. Yeah, you threw a doozie at me.
You ain't too fast cause you're so tall. You threw a doozie at me.
And now you're takin' me down with a home field advantage.
And you're callin' me out with a home field advantage.

You don't know what to do. Yeah, you're lookin' around.
Nobody's at home and you don't know the count.
Well, you break and run just to tie it up.

You're takin' me down with a home field advantage.
And you're callin' me out with a home field advantage.

Shonna Tucker / Drive-By Truckers © (BMI)

Shonna Tucker - Bass and Lead Vocal / Mike Cooley, Patterson Hood and John Neff - Electric Guitars / Brad Morgan - Drums / Spooner Oldham - Wurlitzer / Will Johnson (courtesy of Centro-matic) - Harmony Vocal

The Opening Act

There's a big fat man on a mechanical bull in slow motion like Debra Winger
And he gets knocked off and I think he's hurt,
It's a bitch facing facts and figures
There's a band on stage that used to be huge
They sound on but no one's listening
They're told to turn down and they politely oblige
Ain't no such thing as a free ride

It ain't my problem and it ain't my show and I ain't being condescending
It's just the opening slot and I hit my mark and split as the crowd is thinning

The man's on the guest list so I guess it will be alright...

So the paramedics arrive and they haul off that Urban Bovine Kneivel
I see my friend and give him all my money and tell myself it's a necessary evil
And it's all such a fleeting thing so I'd best try and enjoy it
So much beauty and just enough time to figure out how to destroy it

I'm just the opening act

And it ain't my crowd and it ain't my night but I'd be lying if I said I can't relate
I'm just the opening act and the van is packed and I'm hauling ass to another state

And I'm driving north as the sun was rising over a Technicolor horizon
I reached out to touch you but you're not there, a thousand miles away from here
I turned up the radio; heard some preacher talking salvation
My tank is half full and I reached over and changed the station

I'm just the opening act

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Patterson Hood - Acoustic Guitar, Piano Chord and Lead Vocal / Shonna Tucker - Bass and Harmony / Mike Cooley - Lead Guitar / John Neff - Late Night Pedal Steel / Spooner Oldham - Wurlitzer / Brad Morgan - Drums

Lisa's Birthday

It's always Lisa's birthday when I get that call
She's got no money for a cab she's way too drunk to walk
Lisa's had more birthdays than there are sad country songs
about trying to love two women and only taking one girl home

It's a good thing that her dancing shoes don't run on gasoline
She could dry up Texas in one night the way she feels that beat
If I don't find them under the bed we make love on,
she's lighting Lisa's candles and they'll be burning all night long

So happy birthday Lisa Good evening Jim Beam
Goodnight all you socialites don't wait up for me
I'll be out way past the time the scene's no sight to see
Y'all don't live with Lisa
And she don't stay with me

It's always Lisa's birthday when I get that call
Her car's not where she parked it it's with her wallet and her phone
Lisa's had more birthdays than there are sad country songs
about trying to love two women and only taking one girl home

I get older and Lisa keeps on turning twenty-one

Mike Cooley / Drive-By Truckers © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Mike Cooley - Acoustic Guitar and Vocals / Shonna Tucker - Bass and Harmony Vocal / Spooner Oldham - Piano / Brad Morgan - Drums and Tambourine / John Neff - Pedal Steel - Patterson Hood - Acoustic Guitar

That Man I shot

That man I shot, He was trying to kill me
He was trying to kill me He was trying to kill me
That man I shot I didn't know him
I was just doing my job, maybe so was he

That man I shot, I was in his homeland
I was there to help him but he didn't want me there
I did not hate him, I still don't hate him
He was trying to kill me and I had to take him down

That man I shot, I still can see him
When I should be sleeping, tossing and turning
He's looking at me, eyes looking through me
Break out in cold sweats when I see him standing there

That man I shot, shot not in anger
There's no denying it was in self-defense
But when I close my eyes, I still can see him
I feel his last breath in the calm dead of night

That man I shot, He was trying to kill me
He was trying to kill me, He was trying to kill me
Sometimes I wonder if I should be there?
I hold my little ones until he disappears

I hold my little ones until he disappears
I hold my little ones until we disappear
And I'm not crazy or at least I never was
But there's this big thing that can't get rid of

That man I shot did he have little ones
That he was so proud of that he won't see grow up?
Was walking down his street, maybe I was in his yard
Was trying to do good I just don't understand

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Patterson Hood - Lead and Harmony Vocal, Rhythm and Lead Guitars / Mike Cooley and John Neff - Rhythm and Lead Guitars / Shonna Tucker - Bass / Spooner Oldham - Wurlitzer / Brad Morgan - Drums

The Purgatory Line

This ain't exactly hell.
It sure as hell ain't heaven.
I love you like the dickens and I miss you like the Devil.
I guess I'll do my time waitin' in this purgatory line.
Angels here are wearin' fancy new perfume,
and all the bread's unleavened.
Well I guess it'll have to do till I find you.
I don't know what I'm doin' here or why
I'm waitin' in this purgatory line.

I ain't exactly up.
I ain't gone too far down.
I'm lookin' for some answers and there ain't no one around.
I guess I'll lose my mind waitin' in this purgatory line.
If Jesus walked on water then where'd he get them shoes?
It just keeps gettin' harder to lose these walkin' blues.
I want you to come and take me home for a while.
Save me from this purgatory line.

Sometimes I can laugh.
Other times I cry.
It ain't exactly funny. My feet are both on fire.
I guess they'll just burn for a while waitin' in this purgatory line.
Lovin' you is so easy, but waitin' here just ain't.
I know I can be patient, but please don't hesitate to cross my mind.
That's all I've got for a while.
Waitin' in this purgatory line.

Shonna Tucker / Drive-By Truckers © (BMI)

Shonna Tucker - Bass and Vocals / Mike Cooley - Echoplex Lead Guitar / John Neff - Double E-Bow Pedal Steel / Brad Morgan - Drum / Patterson Hood - Acoustic Guitar / Spooner Oldham - Fender Rhodes

The Home Front

The hours creep across the face
As she paces across the floor
She can't even get to sleep since Tony went to war
She feels bitchslapped and abandoned
By a world she thought she knew
Cold beyond comprehension as their little girl turns two

Now they're saying on the flat screen
They ain't found a reason yet
We're all bogged down in a quagmire
And there ain't no end to it
No Nine Eleven or Uranium to pin the bullshit on
She's left standing on the home front
The two of them alone

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Patterson Hood - Guitars, Lead and Harmony Vocal / Mike Cooley - Guitar / John Neff - Guitar and Pedal Steel / Shonna Tucker - Bass / Spooner Oldham - Hammond B-3 / Brad Morgan - Military Drums

Checkout Time In Vegas

A bloody nose, empty pockets, a rented car with a trunk full of guns
It ain't true that the sun don't rise in Vegas,
I've seen it once
She might have been somebody's mama
he might have been somebody's son
but if the sun went down on them that night in Vegas,
they're luck was good as gone

They'll be after me by the time the buffet closes,
making sure sin city still shines brighter than creations dark
If all you need is a badge to take what's left from those who lost it,
a badge ain't no more real than bullets are

A bloody nose, empty pockets, a rented car with a trunk full of guns
Checkout time is sundown in Las Vegas,
but it only rises once

Mike Cooley / Cooley, Hood, Neff, Morgan, Tucker, and Spooner Oldham © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Mike Cooley - Guitar and Vocals / Shonna Tucker - Bass and Harmony Vocal / Spooner Oldham - Wurlitzer / Patterson Hood - Guitar / John Neff - Pedal Steel / Brad Morgan - Drums

You and Your Crystal Meth

You've become such a mess. You and your crystal meth

You lost your family and wrecked your truck, I used to love you but now you suck
We were friends, among the best; You and your crystal meth

I ain't exactly a no-drug guy, Don't dig the way that you get high
Hope your kids don't see you throwing up, Hope they ain't there if the house blows up
Hope you ain't murdered in your sleep, Up all night with that cranked out creep
You ain't eaten and you ain't slept; You and your crystal meth

Indiana and Alabama, Oklahoma and Arizona.
Texas, Florida, Ohio, Small town America, right next door
Blood soaked your pillow red; You and your crystal meth

Patterson Hood / Hood, Neff, Cooley and David Barbe © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Patterson Hood - Piano and Vocal / John Neff - Pedal Steel / Mike Cooley - Guitar /David Barbe - Looping and Effecting

Goode's Field Road

Honey, take care of the children, make them do as they're told
I got a meeting in the morning down at the end of the Goode's Field Road
Nothing much for a man in my position
A man like me don't last too long in prison
And all those friends down at Police Department
will act like they never had anything to do with me

Started out down at the junk yard taking orders from a moron
And a man my size don't like taking orders from anyone
Bought myself an old beat up wrecker, built an empire with my labor brains and sweat
But it's hard to make an honest living and a man takes any help he gets

Nothing much for a man in my position, a second mortgage and three
college kids' tuition and all them friends that I helped along the way
Will act like they never had anything to do with me

But you and me, we had us some good times and I've always been a family
man deep down. Ain't much a believer of hiring work from "out of state"
but they'll be asking questions when I'm found. They'll be asking
questions when I'm found

Honey, take care of the children, pay the house off when the salvage yard gets sold
And you don't know nothing when the insurance man asks questions
Bout what went down at the Goode's Field Road

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Patterson Hood - Guitars and Vocals / Mike Cooley - Guitars / John Neff - Pedal Steel / Shonna Tucker - Bass / Spooner Oldham - Wurlitzer - David Barbe - Guitar / Brad Morgan - Drums

A Ghost To Most

I guess I'll never grow a sideburn
it's a shame with all I've got to go between
I hope somebody's cause takes soon
it's getting hard to find a place a root can sink
Mama said a lot of things and be thankful was the one she never minded saying twice
Thanks to her I can think clear enough,
to be thankful that she died before tonight

Saving everybody takes a man on a mission
with a swagger that can set the world at ease
Some believe it's God's own hand on the trigger
and the other dumping water in the streets
Talking tough is easy when it's other people's evil
and you're judging what they do or don't believe
It seems to me you'd have to have a hole your own
to point a finger at somebody else's sheet

Baby every bone in my body's gone to jumping
like they're gonna come through my skin
If they could get along without the rest of me, it wouldn't matter if they did
But skeletons ain't got nowhere to stick their money
nobody makes britches that size
and besides you're a ghost to most before they notice,
that you ever had a hair or a hide

I don't know how good it does a man,
to keep on telling him how good it is he's free
free to wash his ghost down the drain,
and free for them to tell him there's no such a thing

Mike Cooley / Drive-By Truckers © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)

Mike Cooley - Guitars and Vocals / Patterson Hood - Guitars and Harmony Vocals / John Neff - Pedal Steel / Shonna Tucker - Bass / Spooner Oldham - Wurlitzer and Hammond B-3 / Brad Morgan - Drums

The Monument Valley

It's all about where you put the horizon
Said the Great John Ford to the young man rising
You got to frame it just right and have some luck of course
And it helps to have a tall man sitting on the horse
Tell them just enough to still leave them some mystery
A grasp of the ironic nature of history
A man turns his back on the comforts of home
The Monument Valley to ride off alone

And when the dust all settles and the story is told
History is made by the side of the road
By the men and women that can persevere
And rage through the storm, no matter how severe
And whether it's a horse or a car or a train
There's gonna be some fine times and there's gonna be some pain
In the end it's a silhouette framed by the sun
And just The Monument Valley when the evening comes

It's a strong wind blowing on the open range
It's gonna be beautiful and it's gonna be strange
It's where to plant the camera and when to say action
When to print the legend and when to leave the facts in
And when to turn your back on the comforts of home
And wander round The Monument Valley alone

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers © Razor and Tie Music (BMI)
For The Great Director

Patterson Hood - Acoustic Guitar and Lead Vocal / Shonna Tucker - Bass and Harmony Vocal / Mike Cooley - Lead Guitar / John Neff - Pedal Steel / Spooner Oldham - Hammond B-3 / Brad Morgan - Drums

SONG BY SONG

An Attempted Song By Song by Patterson Hood

Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife was written as a result of trying to make some kind of peace with an unspeakable tragedy that affected so many people I know and love. I was hoping to help with the healing and closure by trying to provide a beautiful song that dwells on the positives of love and family. I knew it was the first song on the album the moment I wrote it.

3 Dimes Down is a Cooley song and he never really discusses any of his lyrics with me or anyone else so I'm not going to do him the disservice of doing so myself except to say Tom T. Hall's "Week in a Country Jail" is certainly worth checking out for a clue. He played me a 4-track demo he recorded of it one night while we were all working on the Bettye LaVette album and I doubled over in laughter. The second verse may be my all-time favorite on a Drive-By Truckers album.

We were almost through tracking this album when I wrote The Righteous Path. It was the missing piece of the puzzle and I knew it immediately. I played it through for everyone once and then we nailed it in one take. Some songs are just meant to be.

Shonna has been writing songs as long as I've known her. She always said that one day she'd bring one or two in for us to possibly perform. I kinda thought she was going to pull one out during the making of our last album but, alas, it wasn't meant to be. The week before we began recording the album, Shonna wrote The Purgatory Line and I'm Sorry Huston. She demoed them in her living room and played them for us when we convened. We were all blown away by what great and beautiful songs they were. A day or two later, she stayed behind while the rest of us went to supper and wrote Home Field Advantage.

Every time I hear Perfect Timing, I pick up on something new in it. It's really a grower and a really good performance. John Neff did a great job with the acoustic guitar solos.

Daddy Needs A Drink really showcases the chemistry we have with Spooner Oldham. His legendary playing has graced some of our favorite records in the world. He co-wrote "I'm Your Puppet" and played on "When A Man Loves A Woman" and Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)" and "Do Right Woman". He is the single most creative soul I have ever met and his talent is only exceeded by his charm as he is one of the single sweetest men we have ever met. Every single day on the road and in the studio was brightened by his presence and his contribution to this album is monumental (thus its dedication to him).

Cooley seldom talks about what inspires specific songs, but I was there with him in 1991 and saw Self Destructive Zones play out in living color. I think the imagery about the pawnshops and pointy cheap guitars is priceless. I know Bob and you do too. Everyone knows him and he's probably about as good as they come. I probably know his mother too.

There are things you sometimes have to do in order to do what you got to do. The trick is to not let that thing kill you before you do what you got to do. Some folks don't learn that one in time. The Opening Act began as a song written on the back of a discarded setlist from the headlining band on a sticky table at the shithole bar described within it. The fake bull and faux cowboy were all too real, as was the trip to the hospital for the guy looking for his manhood in all the wrong places. I struggled with an ending for the thing for several years, leaving it behind only to be drawn to it again. It was only with the retrospect offered by a year or two of distance that revealed the song's true meaning to me, thus telling me exactly how to close it out. I like to think of it as a short film without the film. There is nothing like a Technicolor horizon to offer a centerpiece on an album so full of black and white and nighttime skies.

Lisa's Birthday was inspired by a story told to Cooley by our old guitar tech Mark Messner. I think it sounds like pure Country Gold circa 1967.

Two separate backstage visits by almost strangers, each touched in different ways by our American tragedy in Iraq, led to the writing of The Home Front and That Man I Shot. I was only a kid when we were over in Vietnam, but I somehow did learn a lesson or two from it. I never so much wanted to be proven wrong in my beliefs as with our current situation, but the evidence so far seems to support that it ain't working out too good for anybody. Now, we're just trying to save face, at the expense of many young lives that could be ordered to serve our country in more productive ways. Seems our band has some fans over there and we're always moved by the stories of really fine folks who are sacrificing so much for our privileged existence. The man in That Man I Shot probably doesn't agree with a lot of my viewpoints, but I tried to be true to what he said and how he said it. You don't have to agree with someone to respect them and that seemed to run both ways with us. As a writer, it's not my job to agree or disagree and certainly not to judge. It is my job to be as true to the character's voice as humanly possible and to tell the story accordingly. The extended family that inspired The Home Front absolutely broke my heart with their story. I changed the names and some details but again tried to be true to the spirit of what they told me.

Wanted to be true also to that guy riding to his destiny in the back of a rented car in the middle of the night to a destination that he thinks will be the answer to all his problems. It was an ageless story with a different twist. Insurance money for the family seemed like a better option than the kind of prison awaiting him. A thousand decisions had led him there and it wasn't my place to question them. There isn't an actual road called Goode's Field Road but if you grew up where I did you know exactly where it is. Some of the best stories aren't really for the telling and the best songs come from the details and spaces locked within.
I wrote this song in 2000 and planned it for The Dirty South album, but at the last minute decided we didn't have the magic take and swapped it for Lookout Mountain. The song has been on my mind ever since but its transition from the mannered country of its original version to the raging primal stomp we landed on here (one magic take) made all the difference and once again proved to me that all things happen for a reason, you just have to trust your instincts (if they seem to be good ones at least) and let things reveal themselves in their own due time.

You And Your Crystal Meth was recorded for A Blessing and A Curse but voted off the album. I was quite unhappy about it until I realized how perfect it sits between Checkout Time in Vegas and Goode's Field Road. We used the old take exactly as it was. I think that take was when I knew that John Neff HAD to rejoin this band. Our beloved producer David Barbe played an extra big part in the creation of that song too.

Checkout Time in Vegas was inspired by the true-life story of our dear friend Scott Baxendale. He builds guitars for a living (he's currently working on a second one for me and a third one for Cooley). He is also a talented screenwriter and documentary director. The story this song alludes to is the basis for an excellent screenplay that he has been trying to get filmed. He became convinced that Johnny Depp should play his character (I want him to maybe play me too for that matter) and went to great lengths to get him a copy. He filmed these great lengths and made a documentary about it all, which recently was screened at The Hollywood Film Festival to rave reviews. He is currently negotiating a distribution deal for it. This guy is amazing and you should play one of his guitars. We meet the most unbelievable people out there on the road.

Cooley closes his set with A Ghost to Most, which I am firmly convinced is the best song he's ever written. We worked it up in practice for The Dirt Underneath Tour and it quickly became one of the standout tunes of each show. The chorus reveals an image so basic and simple yet each listen reveals another layer of story implied within. I overheard Cooley being asked by a friend what it all meant and his response was how "It's really hard for me to find a suit that fits me right."

The album closes with The Monument Valley and the classic imagery from John Ford's immortal masterpiece The Searchers as the door closes on John Wayne's walk off into the desolate beauty of a disappearing America. Ford may have been America's greatest ever filmmaker and repeated viewings of his work reveals insights into our psyche that have never been expressed better. For me it's an extremely personal song and it was a magical take that night in the studio. I knew that it would be the last song on the album the moment I wrote it.

I often write liner notes for our albums and worked most of the summer on a set juxtaposing the two backstage meetings last year. One with the three Green Berets soldiers who had returned home and the other with the family of the soldier who didn't. Those two events played a large part on the writing of this album and I plan to get around to writing about something else pertaining to all of it at a later time.

November 2, 2007 - Athens, GA.

CREDITS

Produced, Engineered and Mixed by David Barbe at Chase Park Transduction Studios, Athens GA. June - September 2007 on glorious 2" analog tape.
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound NYC.

DBT-8:
Mike Cooley, Patterson Hood, Brad Morgan, John Neff, and Shonna Tucker
With special guest: Spooner Oldham

Also appearing: David Barbe, Will Johnson and Scott Danbom

Additional Engineering - Andy LeMaster
Assistant Engineers - Billy Bennett, Ben Holst, Drew Vandenberg, Brannen Miles, Mark Brut

Art Direction - Lilla Hood
Web - Jenn Bryant
Artwork and Paintings - Wes Freed at Willard's Garage, Richmond VA
Willards Garage maintained by Jyl Freed
Photography - Jason Thrasher

Chase Park Interns - Laura Conroy, Ben Dasher, David Franklin

This album is lovingly dedicated to our dear friend and collaborator Spooner Oldham.