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Clip: Drive-By Truckers

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  • Carl Z.
    On SRO, I assume Trucks is not considering albums from the Dirty South (and by that I don t mean the DBT album)...
    Message 1 of 1 , May 5, 2006
      On SRO, I assume Trucks is not considering albums from the Dirty South
      (and by that I don't mean the DBT album)...


      'Bama, Booze, & Boneheads
      Fighting Larry the Cable Guy, the Drive-By Truckers inch away from
      "Southern rock."
      By Rob Trucks
      Article Published May 3, 2006

      If it walks like Southern rock and talks like Southern rock then it
      must be Southern rock, right? Well, yeah. Unless the genre intends to
      hang you.

      "We did all get tired of the whole Southern rock thing," says
      Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, the Alabama five-piece coming
      to San Francisco this week. "It's like none of us really view
      ourselves the way that we were being viewed."

      The misconception stems from the Truckers' 2001 double album Southern
      Rock Opera, a sonic landmark that single-handedly resurrected a
      musical genre that had been left for dead. The record garnered
      beaucoup attention from both music critics and academics who wallow in
      the region's seemingly conflicting mysteries, and landed the Truckers
      on a career path as certain as a cross-country train track. The
      question was, "When, and how, to get off the ride?"

      Cue A Blessing and a Curse, the Truckers' seventh and newest album — a
      conscious attempt at redefinition. "We kind of went into it with kind
      of an agenda of what we didn't want to be," Hood says. "We set out to
      make a record that kind of went against a lot of the things that we
      were most known for. We decided early on that we wanted to do a record
      that didn't really tell a story. We didn't want it to be
      geographically specific."

      Perhaps the band suffered a collective nightmare of the future as
      typecast castaways?

      "Exactly," Hood says. "None of us really wanted to quite be Gilligan,
      you know. But it's like an actor. If he does a really good job, if
      he's really good at his role he has to overcome. That guy that plays
      Tony Soprano is going to have a hard time ever not being Tony Soprano
      in people's eyes because he's played the fuck out of Tony Soprano. And
      so we wanted to make a record that showcased some of the other things
      that we know how to do, and it meant kind of taking away some of the
      things that have become our calling cards."

      Still, a Southernectomy is some highly serious surgery for this band.
      Though fellow Trucker Mike Cooley's "Space City" (a nod to Huntsville,
      Alabama) is the lone violator of A Blessing's no-specific-setting
      rule, the album's title track is yet another in a long line of Bible
      Belt-indicative signifiers. And then there's the sound. Third
      guitarist Jason Isbell puts down that third six-string in favor of a
      more delicate keyboard on occasion, but the Truckers still shred.
      Lyrics about champagne hand jobs, crystal meth in the bathtub and
      sucking on the end of a shotgun remain too damn gritty for any
      potential backslide over to the country market.

      Yet Blessing's last track, the Hood-penned "World of Hurt," works
      through the band's traditionally cynical worldview to the optimistic
      conclusion that it's great to be alive. Written and demo'd in the
      space of just a couple of hours, "Hurt" is off-the-cuff inspiration
      proving the Truckers can stand up as songwriters without a regional

      "We're not trying to necessarily shed who we are and what we do," Hood
      says. "I mean, our next record may be a total pendulum swing to the
      other direction. Most likely the top priority next year is going to be
      a direct rebellion against whatever it was we did this year. The last
      thing I ever want to do is be predictable."

      The Drive-By Decade

      A truckin' discography

      Bulldozers and Dirt/Nine Bullets (45 single) (1996): A two-song vinyl
      even true fans don't own. Who has turntables? Both great songs found a
      home on Pizza Deliverance.

      Gangstabilly (1998): More Billy than Gangsta, the Truckers' first
      full-length is also their countryest. Most notable for one of
      Patterson Hood's proudest songwriting moments, "The Living Bubba."

      Pizza Deliverance (1999): Some truly spooky Southern Gothic
      preoccupations here, including multichambered handguns, aging redneck
      swinger basements, AM radio religion, and an old woman's arachnid

      Alabama Ass Whuppin' (live) (1999): Prematurely recorded at various
      shows in Athens and Atlanta, it nevertheless lays the groundwork for
      so many roads ahead.

      Southern Rock Opera (2001): Simply put, the most important album to
      come out of the South since REM's Murmur.

      Decoration Day (2003): Forget ethanol: DD runs on frustration and
      denial. Test-drive "Hell No I Ain't Happy."

      The Dirty South (2004): Chock-full of storied anthems about the
      Southern underclass (is that redundant?), including several of the
      band's blood relatives.

      A Blessing and a Curse (2006): The quickest way to make a Southerner
      jump is to tell him that he can't. Here the Truckers do — like a
      freaked-out frog.
      — R.T.
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