Drive By Truckers
The Dirty South
New West Records
This was my first DBT experience. After hearing about their live shows in the area and their fusion of all sorts of local music on their previous albums, I figured it was time to take the plunge. The Dirty South serves as a fine introduction to this group of southerners. The band had me from their Sam Phillips tribute “Carl Perkins’ Cadillac,” and just built on the goodwill from there. The sounds run the gamut, from the expected southern rock (“Where the Devil Don’t Stay”), to classic folksy numbers (“Daddy’s Cup”), to the Springsteen-esque (“The Day John Henry Died”). However, if you just hear these songs, you aren’t going to get the full measure of this album. You really need to listen to these songs.
The lyrics are powerful. These songs are stories, tales of real people in the real South. People who lived and died, made choices good and bad, and did the best they could. And Drive By Truckers do a great job of telling each of these stories. We get stories of how low a father is willing to sink to feed his kids, of how an uncle spends his life after WWII, of how towns were dying while the space program flourished, of another view of Buford Pusser, of musical heroes who have passed away. The three singers-songwriters-guitarists who penned these stories and set them to music are the core of a new generation of musical storytellers, continuing the tradition of Steve Earle, Bob Dylan and Waylon Jennings. Their rhythm section backs them up in an organic manner, with such differing style that sometimes it seems like different bands from track to track.
Based on The Dirty South, I am going to seek out previous DBT albums, like 2001’s Southern Rock Opera, and try to see them live the next time they come to town. If you are a fan of songs with stories and music to back them up, pick up this album. The Dirty South is my favorite album of 2004.
New West Records: http://www.newwestrecords.com