Monday, March 28, 2011


I write a hell of a lot about The Drive-By Truckers, they are one of my favorite groups in the world. I might go so far as to say that they are the best band in the world right now.  So, it's kind of a surprise that it's taken me a few weeks to review their latest album, Go-Go Boots.

The thing is, it usually takes me a few listens, a few days, maybe even a few weeks, to fully digest a new DBT album. Their albums are full on experiences, like Skynyrd's or Springsteen's were, or even The Replacements.  Those are the bands I most often compare The Drive-By Truckers to.

At first, I wasn't sure I loved this album as much as last year's The Big To-Do, which was my favorite album of 2010. But when I first heard that one, I wasn't sure I liked it as much as 2008's Brighter Than Creation's Dark.

So let me just say that Go-Go Boots is (yet) another incredible album. I understand that it was recorded at the same time as Big To-Do, but it definitely has a different vibe. It is a bit quieter, but also a bit darker. That said, my favorite song is a cover of Eddie Hinton's "Everybody Needs Love," which isn't so dark. I'd never heard that song - and I'm not sure I'd even heard of Eddie Hinton - before the Truckers released   a double A-sided 7" single, volume 2 in a series of tribute singles to Hinton.  Both songs ("Everybody Needs Love," sung by Patterson Hood, and "Where's Eddie," sung by Shonna Tucker) are on Boots. Sometimes I don't like when an album is built around a cover, but in this case, they aren't banking on the song's familiarity, it's the opposite: both songs are so great, and yet so obscure, that by bringing them to a bigger audience, everybody wins.

"Everybody Needs Love" is my favorite song on the album.  But it's all good, another one that stands out is "I Used To Be A Cop." If it were an acoustic song, it would belong on Springsteen's Nebraska. But I'll say it may belong on side four of The River instead. It's that good.

Patterson Hood often gets more attention than the rest of the band, and fair enough, he's often the one doing the interviews and communicating with fans online and via liner notes. But Mike Cooley is an equally good writer, and on this album, he seems to be heading in more of a classic country direction.  "Cartoon Gold" is a great song. In my mind, I could hear Willie Nelson covering it.  "The Weakest Man" could be a hit for one of country music's elder statesmen, like George Strait or Alan Jackson.

I've heard rumblings that the band may take an extended break after this album's tour wraps up. Fair enough, they've been touring and recording incessantly for the past few years. It's a bummer, I feel like I just started with the band, but these guys have been working hard for a long time. I do believe (ahem) that the world will catch up to them, and when they come back, they will be bigger than ever (hey, it happened with Primus). When I go to concerts today, I often wonder if the artist who I'm seeing will still be around in ten years.  I say that I'll be seeing DBT in twenty.

(by the way, let me take this moment to point out that without SiriusXM's Outlaw Country, I might not have become the big Drive-By Truckers fan that I am.  Yes, I work at SiriusXM, but Outlaw Country was one of the reasons I subscribed before I worked there - Underground Garage was another compelling reason.)  Also, let me give a little shout to Alabama Ass Whuppin', a great blog that covers the band way more comprehensively than I do.

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