Drive-By Truckers perform last album with current label

By Missy Smith

The Canopy Club, 708 S. Goodwin Ave., has been a hot spot for the indie music scene since it opened. Today, the Drive-By Truckers roll into the CU community, ready to bring the real south into town.

It is the bass player Shonna Tucker’s birthday when she takes the stage tonight, so make sure to wish her a happy birthday.

Champaign is one stop on their “Homefront Tour” that will keep them on the road until the beginning of July. It may be exhausting, but Tucker doesn’t show it. Her voice and her southern drawl linger on each word with as much excitement as if this was her first show.

“We are a real band,” Tucker said. “We really play our instruments, we write our own songs, sing them and play them live. We tour like crazy idiots, and many people don’t do that anymore.”

This tour and their current record, “Brighter than Creation’s Dark,” mark the end of an era for the Drive-By Truckers. It will be their last effort on their current record label, New West.

The band is ready to embrace this end as a new beginning, one of which Tucker is looking forward to.

“We are very excited about being on our own in every way,” Tucker said. “We get back some control that we might have lost because of things that may have come along.”

Knowing their time was coming to an end at New West allowed Tucker and the other members to approach this album with a fresh attitude.

“We took time to rest, take a deep breath and just went into making this record knowing that it was going to be something completely brand new,” Tucker said. “Individually, we were all determined to make it the best we could in whatever way possible.”

This album is especially close to Tucker’s heart because it contains two tracks she wrote.

“It was a big deal and it changed everything for me,” Tucker said. “I’ve always written a little, but since I’ve been in the band I was focusing on being the bass player. I had to muster up a lot of courage to approach the guys with my songs because I respect them so much as writers.”

Tucker said everyone was excited with how the record turned out. She said there were no lack of songs and creativity, so all they had to do was sit down and choose which would make the album. The ones that made the album Tucker said were “right on.”

With a little bit of country and a little bit of rock and roll, the Drive-By Truckers were the trailblazers for the alternative country genre, but do not try to categorize them as such because they dislike labels.

“We are a rock band from the South,” Tucker said, “People can call us whatever they want. The band might have been an inspiration to the alternative country stuff, but it might have more to do with our redneck circus on stage rather than the music.”

Despite being on the music scene for over 10 years, releasing eight albums, and gaining and losing members of the band, Tucker said they still make music exactly how they want to.

“We are pretty picky about the music we listen to,” Tucker said. “We hate listening to the radio, so we make records that we would like to listen to.”

Check out the Drive-By Truckers tonight at the Canopy Club. Show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $15. You must be 18 or older to enter.