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April 17, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST
What do a Southern rock band and a West Coast novelist have in common? Both converge in Columbia today.
Drive-By Truckers’ frontman Patterson Hood found inspiration in the pages of long-time pen pal and fellow musician Willy Vlautin’s latest novel, The Free. The books’ protagonist, Pauline Hawkins, inspired a track on the band’s newest album, English Oceans. Pauline is a nurse for the main character, Iraq war veteran Leroy Kervan, after he’s put on life support following a suicide attempt.
“I read it right after we finished making the record and just flipped over it,” Hood says. “I actually wrote ‘Pauline Hawkins’ the day after I read it.”
Where: The Blue Note
When: April 17, 8:30 p.m.
As the Truckers jam at The Blue Note, blocks away, Willy Vlautin will play a live set before a screening of The Motel Life, a film based on his novel, at Ragtag Cinema.
“If I’m a bum on the street, at least I’ll be able to say my nurse inspired one of my favorite songwriters,” Vlautin says. “It was a great honor.”
Pauline and her story fit seamlessly into the band’s 2014 release.
It is yet another consistent album from the group. An album filled with Southern-fried soul and thoughtful meditations on the modern South.
Hood typically creates characters in his music who inhabit a 21st-century American South that is corroded and compromised but ultimately hopeful.
Drive-By Truckers - “The Living Bubba” (1998)
Drive-By Truckers - “Made Up English Oceans” (2014)