The Drive-By Truckers  
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I think that we all came away from last years album and tour thinking of it as some sort of closure. The life of this band has always been of cycles and phases and periods of transition. In the fall of 2001 we launched the Southern Rock Opera Tour and basically toured non-stop through the release of four albums that were all recorded on short breaks for the actual touring of the previous album. This cycle began in 2-300 seaters with us touring in a 1995 Dodge Ram with our gear all packed into the cage and us crammed (with our beloved then-tour manager Dick Cooper) into the front for stretches of months at a time to last fall's shows in some beautiful historic theatres in a tourbus with a four-piece crew. Along the way the band had morphed and grown into a well-oiled machine and hit what felt to me like an apex of how far this could go. We were playing more consistent and able than I had ever imagined. I was also feeling the cracks under the surface, as the strain from that much time on the road was starting to affect my mental well-being and I know I wasn't the only one. So we all went home for a while.

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