Where the Devil Don't Stay: Traveling the South with the Drive-By Truckers
University of Texas Press
In 1996, Patterson Hood recruited friends and fellow musicians in Athens, Georgia, to form his dream band: a group with no set lineup that specialized in rowdy rock and roll.
The Drive-By Truckers, as they named themselves, grew into one of the best and most consequential rock bands of the twenty-first century, a great live act whose songs deliver the truth and nuance rarely bestowed on Southerners, so often reduced to stereotypes. Where the Devil Don’t Stay tells the band’s unlikely story not chronologically but geographically. Seeing the Truckers’ albums as roadmaps through a landscape that is half-real, half-imagined, their fellow Southerner Stephen Deusner travels to the places the band’s members have lived in and written about. Tracking the band from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia, to the author’s hometown in McNairy County, Tennessee, Deusner explores the Truckers’ complex relationship to the South and the issues of class, race, history, and religion that run through their music. Drawing on new interviews with past and present band members, including Jason Isbell, Where the Devil Don’t Stay is more than the story of a great American band; it’s a reflection on the power of music and how it can frame and shape a larger culture.