A 'Brighter' Album from the Drive-By Truckers
Over the past decade, Southern roots-rockers Drive-By Truckers have developed a legacy of detailed, complex songwriting. Fronted by Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, the band sets lyrics of struggle and pathos against backdrops of country, R&B and thick, muscular rock.
Fresh Air's rock critic says their new album, Brighter Than Creation's Dark, is one of their best-written and most enjoyable yet — a mix of Southern soul, Brit-invasion rock, and Texas honky-tonk in a time when the notion of regionalism in pop music has, except in the hip-hop crowd, all but disappeared.
Though bassist Shonna Tucker contributes a few songs sung in a honey-baked croon, it's Hood and Cooley who contribute the Class A material, often alternating songs on this 19-track album.
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Drive-By Truckers in Concert
"Where the Devil Don't Stay"
"Easy On Yourself"
"Sounds Better In the Song"
"Women Without Whiskey"
"Never Gonna Change"
"Dead Drunk and Naked"
"Guitar Man Upstairs"
"Ronnie and Neil"
"Moonlight Mile" (Rolling Stones)
"My Sweet Annette"
"The Day John Henry Died"
"Do It Yourself"
"When the Pin Hits the Shell"
"Goddamn Lonely Love"
"18 Wheels of Love"
"Let There Be Rock"
"World of Hurt"
"Puttin' People On the Moon"
"The Living Bubba"
"People Who Died" (Jim Carroll)
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The Drive-By Truckers have been making bold, often epic southern rock since they first formed in Athens, Ga., a decade ago. Currently on tour for their seventh album, the band visited the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., for a night of live music, originally webcast in its entirety on NPR.org July 15.
The Drive-By Truckers features three guitarists and songwriters: Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley and Jason Isbell, along with bassist Shonna Tucker and drummer Brad Morgan. Hood and Cooley formed the band in 1996 after meeting in college and have since played with a revolving cast of other musicians.
The band's songs tell tales of drunks, widespread poverty, loveable losers and stubborn good ol' boys set against a backdrop of trailer parks and southern despair. They speak of "the duality of the Southern thing," pride and regret: the pride of belonging to a special place with a separate history, speaking in a distinct accent, and a feeling of discomfort, too, about some of that history and attitude.
The Drive-By Truckers first reached a major audience with its 2001 concept record Southern Rock Opera. The double album uses the rise and fall of the southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd as a metaphor for the cultural fall of the South as a whole. It was followed by Decoration Day in 2003, The Dirty South in 2004 and this year's A Blessing And A Curse.