Athens, GA has always been a hotbed of music. Pylon and The B-52s may have brought the initial shine to the scene, but more traditionally based music has drawn the spotlight as of late. If you were looking to point a finger as to who may have fostered such a revival, I would look no further than Patterson Hood, the Alabama transplant who co-founded The Drive By Truckers in that burgh some 12 years ago. DBT tour relentlessly, and their recent successes have allowed Hood to give a little bit back to the scene that fostered them, whether it be taking a band out on their first tour or lending a hand with recording.
Don Chambers is a pillar of the Athens roots scene. You may remember him from Goat. He's a long time running partner of Hood, with a craggy voice that can get Tom Waits rough or Eddie Hinton smooth as needed. Hood manned the boards for Zebulon with Chambers, lending his sympathetic ear and backing vocals to one of the best swamp-soul records you'll hear this year. Neither Chambers nor Hood are strangers to the road, and Zebulon is bound loosely by the theme of travel; alluding equally to the displacement one experiences while searching and the rewards one attains through those quests. The arrangements are sparse, but the recording is excellent. Chambers sounds like he's playing new songs in your living room more than anything, and it's that intimacy makes Zebulon worth the trip.