Friday, April 13, 2007
– After five years, guitarist/singer Jason Isbell left the Drive-By Truckers earlier this month. The exact reasons for the departure were unclear. Isbell is launching a solo career, releasing an album this summer and currently opening shows for Son Volt.
Isbell wrote on his myspace page, "I am not in the Drive By Truckers anymore. Go figure. I wish them luck. I will not answer questions about it."
In a subsequent posting, Isbell wrote, "I'm doing fine, and I'm excited about the new opportunities I've been given. I think 'Sirens' is a great record, and I have to say it'll be nice to be the boss for a while."
On the DBT web site, lead singer Patterson Hood wrote, "It's with a wide range of emotions and feelings that I'm announcing that we have parted ways with Jason. The split, which I consider extremely amicable is the result of a period of personal and artistic growth from all sides which has left us with differing dreams and goals."
Isbell joined the band, mid-tour, in the fall of 2001, shortly after the release of the fourth album ("Southern Rock Opera"). "His impact on the band was immediate and profound, bringing an awe-inspiring combination of vocal range, guitar dexterity and amazing songwriting and leading us into an era of creativity that has resulted in three albums that I will be proud of for as long as I live," Hood said.
"Life in a band is always a delicate balancing act of personal and musical chemistries. Having been in bands for most of my life, I still marvel that any band stays together for longer than a year. Especially if the band in question spends anywhere from 150-220 days a year on the road, as our band has done since 1998. That said, I have also likened this band to a family. A big, messy, sometimes dysfunctional one, but a family full of love all the same. It is in this spirit that I plan on Jason continuing to be a part of our lives wherever our roads and dreams take us in the immediate future."
Isbell will release "Sirens of the Ditch" July 10 on New West.
"We all are wishing him nothing but the absolute best on every step that plays before him," said Hood.
"DBT is about to begin it's 12th year of existence on the very day that we will be going into the studio to begin recording our 8th album. (Band member Mike) Cooley recently sent me a demo of five new songs, and yesterday I demoed nine new ones for consideration. In addition to Shonna and Brad (who is coming up on 10 years in the band), John Neff will be playing with us full time, playing both guitar and pedal steel. John was a founding member of the band in '96 and has already played on 4 of our albums and has been on the road with us, full time for going on 2 years."
DBT will launch "The Dirt Underneath" tour, where the show will be a more laid back approach musically, and play rock shows as well this summer. Hood said that the band hopes to "do another leg or two" of the The Dirt Underneath tour this fall.
"It is my sincere and and adamant hope that everyone will support all of us, and by that I mean our band and Jason's, as we deal with this transition. Jason's tenure in this band has been one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me on a personal and musical level and our love for him and his music is in no way changed or endangered by our collective decision to move into different directions."
"As always, the bond that we have with each other, as well as with the folks that come to our shows and listen to our records has always been one of the things that has set this band apart. We plan to continue on in that tradition and spirit and hope you will come with us as we attempt to tell another tale and Rock the nights away a little while longer."
Isbell said, "I ask that you continue to support the Truckers (they are still friends of mine) and check out my solo band when we come around."