One of the Drive-By Truckers' strengths is their multiple songwriters. Patterson Hood writes the most material, but Mike Cooley contributes two or three strong songs per album (and Jason Isbell did the same until he left the band for a solo career this year). Several years ago a mutual friend of Hood and Cooley committed suicide. Both wrote songs about it for the album Decoration Day, and today is Cooley's turn with the quiet "When the Pin Hits the Shell:"
You can lie to your Mama, you can lie to your raceCooley tries not to judge, but in the end he just has to walk away.
but you can’t lie to nobody with that cold steel in your face.
And the same God that you’re so afraid is gonna send you to hell
is the same one you’re gonna answer to when the pin hits the shell.
And I ain’t gonna crawl upon no high horseWe'll see Hood's take tomorrow.
Cause I got thrown off of one
when I was young and I ain’t no cowboy
so I ain’t going where I don’t belong.
It wouldn’t do you no good to let you know that it damned near killed me too
so I ain’t gonna mourn for you, man, now that you’re gone.