Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Don Chambers has made a powerful name for himself in Athens, GA, where he's become a local favorite for his often dark, powerfully emotional tales of loss and the search for redemption. Raised by a churchgoing family in Florence, SC, Chambers took up music as a boy and later developed an interest in visual art. In 1988, he moved to Athens to enroll in a master's program in printmaking. Before long, however, Chambers had lost interest in both printmaking and academia, and threw himself into music by forming a band called Cursing Alice with his friend Arthur Tarratus. In time, Cursing Alice evolved into Vaudeville, a group that recorded a handful of singles, compilation tracks, and an album called Into the Burlesque before breaking up in 1998. (The last in the band's long line of drummers was Brad Morgan, who later joined the Drive-By Truckers.)
After Vaudeville's breakup, Chambers focused on writing songs that indulged his passion for country blues and roots music. He released a solo album, 2002's Back in the Woods, and soon formed a group named GOAT to help re-create the fractured blues-gospel-hillbilly hybrid of Chambers' recordings in his live performances. The group featured Matt "Pistol" Stoessel on steel guitar, Patrick Hargon on lead guitar, Lisa Hargon Smith on bass, Brandon McDearis on drums, and Jim Wilson, who added additional percussion using a ladder fitted with a variety of sound-producing gimmicks. Don Chambers & GOAT made their recording debut with a self-titled album released in 2005, and their second disc, a self-released effort called I Got the Recollection of the Blood of the Lamb, appeared in 2007. Chambers and GOAT toured several times as an opening act for the Drive-By Truckers, and DBT leader Patterson Hood produced the band's 2008 release, Zebulon. Before GOAT began work on the album, however, Patrick Hargon and Lisa Hargon Smith amicably left the group, while Kevin Lane enrolled as GOAT's new bassist.