"Zip City" clip illustrates the songwriting genius of the Drive-By Truckers' Mike Cooley

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      There's a few old-school rock shows comin' to town that I'm pretty psyched about, like Deep Purple February 26, Van Halen May 7, and Roger Waters May 26. But now and again I try to branch out of my '70s-rock comfort zone, and that's when the southern-fried roots-rock of the Drive-By Truckers goes straight to the top of my charts.

      A couple of years back I posted a blog on the songwriting genius of DBT singer-guitarist Mike Cooley, and mentioned four of the tunes that I love most of his. "Zip City"--a track off the band's Skynyrd-influenced Southern Rock Opera album of 2001--wasn't one of them, and it's absence caused some other major fans of "the Stroker Ace" to speak up.

      A guy named Scott Hollcomb said that 'Zip City' was "easily the best song in the Truckers catalog," and noted that the Truckers' other singer-guitarist, Patterson Hood, has called it "his favorite song by any band."

      Then Kevin Kellam put his two-bits'-worth in. "I have to second the towering 'Zip City'," he commented. "As a Cooley devotee also, I think it's his finest moment. Not only does it tell a perfectly compact narrative with fully created characters, but it abandons any traditional verse-chorus structure, choosing instead to just build and build. I'm a huge music fan, and I consider it one of the best songs I've heard over the past several years."

      Last night I was scouring YouTube for Cooley clips and I came across this one for "Zip City" that was illustrated by L.A. artist Andrew Colunga. Give it a look, and if you like the tune get tix for the DBT's gig at the Commodore March 22, presented by your good rockin' buddies at the Georgia Straight. From what I hear, "Zip City" has been part of the band's encore of late, and somebody's gotta be there to recreate that PBR salute seen here at the 1:10 mark.