Brighter Than Creation's Dark
The Drive-By Truckers command fierce loyalty from their followers - the sound of the new 'Southern Rock' (despite three leading members coming from Athens, Georgia). Famed for their 3 guitar lead, and their 3 man writing and singing team, the band changed in 2007 when one of those three, Jason Isbell, left to go solo, following the release of A Blessing And A Curse - the least Skynyrd album they had made to that point. Bass player Shonna Tucker has stepped into the songwriting breach, providing 3 of the 19 songs. Brighter Than Creation's Dark goes way back to the early DBT days, with a heavy slice of country cut into the rock. Where Blessing had started to edge closer to early Stones and Faces (and occasionally Uncle Tupelo, or a beefed-up Eagles), here there is some Hank Williams to leaven the mood. The Truckers have always made grab-bag albums, although the arguments that led to the song choices have always had a positive effect on quality control. There was clearly less of that here - the 19 songs seem chosen for fairness rather than excellence; there are 12 great tracks (some from each of the writers, although Patterson Hood commands the majority), but the effect is that of a compilation album, like The New Pornographers' latest. This is not the best DBT album, but it's still, in parts, a rather fine piece of work.