The Drive-By Truckers played three intimate shows at Athens, GA’s 40 Watt Club from January 14-16. The band’s fifth annual winter homecoming shows featured a range of special guests, surprise covers and other musical tributes. On Thursday night a group of teenagers who have studied music through the Nuci’s Space Camp Amped program opened the night as the Camp Amped Sampler Band. The following two nights Patterson Hood’s father, legendary Muscle Shoals musician David Hood, warmed up the crowd with his band The Decoys. The elder Hood first played with the Truckers in Muscle Shoals, AL last year and invited the members of the group onstage during his opening set for a cover of The Band’s “The Weight” on both Friday and Saturday nights. On Thursday the Truckers also sat in with the Camp Amped Sampler Band for The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

“I remember when [Patterson would] be writing these stories about the South,” David Hood recently told Relix. “Some of it was slightly familiar to me, but I’d think, ‘Who wants to hear about that stuff?’ I now realize that a lot of people want to hear about that stuff. I’ve been to see them play many times since then and I’m always impressed with their ability to play and to work a crowd and please people. I look up front and everybody’s mouthing all the words to these songs that I initially thought were weird and obscure.”

A number of additional guests sat in with the Drive-By Truckers each night of its three-show run at the 40 Watt Club. The band longtime producer David Barbe played guitar with the group a few songs each night and Athens-based musician Todd McBride sang with the Truckers Thursday and Saturday. Decoys members Kelvin Holly and Mike Dillon also joined the ensemble onstage and David Hood himself performed with the Truckers on a pair of Eddie Hinton songs: “Where’s Eddie” and “Everybody Needs Love.” In addition, the Truckers paid tribute to Athens musician Vic Chesnutt, who took his own life on Christmas.

The Drive-By Truckers are featured on the cover of the February/March issue of Relix. In the issue, the band discusses its recent homecoming run, playing with David Hood and its new album, The Big To-Do. In addition, the DBT will screen its new documentary The Secret To A Happy Ending February 5, 2010 at Silver Spring, MD’s AFI Silver Theatre. Director Barr Weissman, Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley and Brad Morgan will be on hand for a Q&A after the screening.

The Secret To A Happy Ending screenings include:

February 5-6 Silver Spring, MD—AFI Silver Theatre (2/6 is a midnight screening the evening of February 5)
February 28 San Francisco, CA—Noise Pop Film Festival

The band’s upcoming dates include:

January 28 Huntsville, AL—Crossroads Music Hall
January 29 Mobile, AL—Soul Kitchen
January 30 Tuscaloosa, AL—Jupiter Bar & Grill
February 11 Greenville, SC—Handlebar
February 12-13 Raleigh, NC—Lincoln Theatre
February 14 Knoxville, TN—Bijou Theatre
February 25 Charlotte, NC—Neighborhood Theatre
February 26-27 Charlottesville, VA—Jefferson Theatre
March 4 Wilmington NC—Rox Nightclub
March 6 Augusta GA—Sky City
March 12-13 Atlanta GA—Variety Playhouse
March 18 Austin, TX—SXSW
March 19-20 New Orleans LA—Tipitinas
April 1 New York NY—Webster Hall
April 2 Boston MA—House of Blues
April 3 Philadelphia PA—Electric Factory
April 6-7 Toronto Canada—Lee’s Palace
April 8 Detroit MI—St. Andrews Hall
April 9 Chicago IL—The Vic Theatre
April 10 Lexington KY—Buster’s Billiards and Backroom
April 11 Cleveland OH—Beachland Ballroom and Tavern
April 14 Towson MD—Recher Theatre
April 15 Norfolk VA—The Norva
April 16-17 Asheville NC—The Orange Peel
April 30 Nashville TN—Cannery Ballroom
May 7 Los Angeles CA—Avalon
May 8 San Francisco CA—The Fillmore Auditorium