Saturday, January 21, 2012

18 Wheels of Love: A quirky country-rock love story

Watch this video of 18 Wheels of Love, live at Austin City Limits

Back in 1998 a relatively unknown noir alternative country-rock band called the Drive-By Truckers recorded a song called 18 Wheels of Love for their debut CD, Gangstabilly. It had somewhat forgettable lyrics. For live performances they added a long, profane spoken introduction. Finally, a decade later on the Austin City Limits TV program, they told that story via the extended version shown above. An audio-only version is here.

Watch and listen for all the gestures and specific details Patterson Hood crams into telling his story - including mama, divorce, vodka, Elvis, tabloids, tattoos, Vietnam, Dollywood, and heart disease. Those details make a presentation compelling, rather than generic. Other country songs about truck drivers like Phantom 309 or Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses pale in comparison.

By the way, Chester lived for a couple more years.

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