Release Date: Sep 1, 2009
Record label: New West
Eleven years after releasing their first album and eight years after redefining themselves with Southern Rock Opera, the rare concept album whose execution was just as impressive as its ambitions, the Drive-By Truckers have gained a richly deserved reputation as one of the hardest-working and most rewarding rock bands for over a decade. Having cranked out five great albums in seven years, they presumably felt bad about not having a new studio effort for 2009, so they've offered fans not one but two time-honored stopgaps -- a live album (actually an installment in New West's Live from Austin, TX series of live discs drawn from the archives of Austin City Limits), and a collection of outtakes and rare tracks. The Fine Print: A Collection of Outtakes and Rarities brings together a dozen songs that, for a variety of reasons, didn't appear on one of the DBTs' albums, including four covers, alternate versions of two tracks, and a few numbers that didn't fit the pattern of the sets for which they were intended.
In the wake of the Drive-By Truckers’ split with New West Records this past spring, it’s hardly a surprise that the label is churning out whatever previously unreleased DBT-related material they can scrounge up. And after all, who can blame ‘em? Since picking up the Alabama-bred, Georgia-based band in 2003, the Drive-By Truckers have gone on to become one of, if not the most popular band on the label’s roster, and with a large fan base built solely from years of extensive touring, the demand for new product is definitely there. However, befitting a band who continually puts out superb, meticulously crafted albums, from the songwriting to the artwork, this summer’s two new releases are hardly your usual contractual obligation toss-offs.
In March 1999, George Jones slammed his SUV into a bridge abutment, and Drive-By Truckers got a song out of it. Jones wasn't reeling from alcohol, nor was he being chased by an angry ex, nor did any of the hard-living country tropes play into the crash. Instead, he was simply talking on his cell phone to his daughter. He was in critical condition but recovered eventually.