The Big To-Do


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — Alabama’s Drive-By Truckers are the switchblade sharp, soulful chainsaw scream of the ravaged and abused, modern-day South. When it comes to bringing the dark, twisted tales of losers and abusers to life, nobody even comes close to Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley. Their richly detailed lyrics, which prove just as explosive on the page as they are when set to music, take brutally uncompromising note of all the weaknesses and confusing contradictions of the South — but it’s always rooted in a deeply sincere if sometimes conflicted sense of pride in their heritage. What’s that smell? Call it Southern rock with a conscience, both thoughtful and thought provoking, served up with the ferociousness of a black tornado sky. And the band only gets tighter and tighter with every release, making The Big To-Do, the Truckers’ 10th album, their hardest-rocking collection of electric Dixie brain food yet. There’s no fat here; only powerhouse chords that come at you like rolling thunder and engrossing, rusty-barbed-wire-entangled stories of chaos and pathos that sound as disturbing as secrets pulled from an old, dusty antique trunk they found in the attic. — R. SIMEON FRANKS