Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark

The Drive-By Truckers have been a favorite band of mine for some time. They are included on the list of what I think is the top tier of American rock bands (live and in-studio) working today which include Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Ween. The Trucker's accomplished a rarity in music today by creating three near-perfect rock albums in a row (2001's Southern Rock Opera, 2003's Decoration Day and 2004's The Dirty South). With the departure of Jason Isbell it would be difficult to replicate the quality of those records, even though Isbell was only present for the last two. Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley appear to have a few tricks still left up their sleeves, including having bassist (and Isbell's ex-wife) Shonna Tucker write and sing a few songs.

The Drive-By Truckers have always played Southern Rock but not until Brighter Than Creation's Dark have they sounded so Country. It's not just the consistency of pedal steel that gives this album the Country & Western vibe but all three songwriters seem to take the songs in that direction more lyrically. The Truckers have always had the honest, storytelling type songs reminiscent of C&W but here their much more obvious about it. Songs like Cooley's 'Lisa's Birthday' and the sweet harmonies of Hood and Tucker on 'The Opening Act' are straight off AM country radio.

Thankfully, there is still plenty of good ole Rock 'N Roll to satisfy longtime Trucker fans. Songs like '3 Dimes Down' and 'The Man I Shot' show they haven't changed too much. Patterson Hood really has the best batch of songs on the album, with Cooley and Tucker not far behind. One of the biggest complaints is at 19 songs it's a bit long and there are a few songs that probably could have been cut. Eitther way the Truckers continue to be one of the most consistent rock bands around, with another great studio album and one of the best live shows in the business.

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