Fri Feb 13
1 SW 3rd
The Drive-By Truckers LOVE the South. In the parlance of their down-home, rootsy rock swagger, they name-check whiskey, farms, and George Wallace... and when they sing about Alabama, it's like Christians singing about Heaven. In a world of Bubba Sparxxx and the Allman Brothers they are not the first, last, or best band to fly the stars-n-bars flag of Southern Pride. But the Drive-By Truckers come across as the most sincere in their Southern adoration. (In interviews, they've called Southern crunk the greatest thing to happen to music.)
Concept albums don't come more obvious than their 2001 release, Southern Rock Opera, a double album that is little more than 20 love songs penned in the name of Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was the record that put Drive-By Truckers on the map, and thankfully drew attention from their embarrassing past of ironic, overly Southern albums (with names like Gangstabilly, Pizza Deliverance, and Alabama Ass Whuppin'). Southern Rock Opera is a career-defying declaration that is modern in style, but historical in content.
Critically acclaimed double albums are tough to top, but the band had little trouble doing just that with their most recent, last summer's Decoration Day. While Southern Rock Opera was all solos and Skynyrd, Decoration Day is love songs and tragedy, sounding like Neil Young with a bone to pick and an embittered drunkard's drawl.
Tragedy is the DBTs' main theme--the plane-crashed Skynyrd, the "by any means necessary" murder of a farm-foreclosing banker in "Sinkhole," a bloody family rivalry in "Decoration Day"--songs about bad things happening to good people. With each passing day, the band inches closer to being the next Skynyrd; just in case, Drive-By Truckers should start working on their very own "Freebird" and stay the hell away from airplanes.