Tag Archives: Brighter Than Creation’s Dark

Cures for a rainy day

My fixation on the Drive-By Truckers has now lasted about as long as my obsession with Husker Du, only with the advantage that the DBTs aren’t about to break up. I think. It seemed like the Huskers blew up just as the world was starting to appreciate them. That doesn’t seem to be in the cards for the DBTs.  Stylistically the bands have nothing in common but electric  guitars and a taste for feedback, but they share (shared) a severe work ethic that also seems (seemed) to bring out the best in their songwriting. That means a harvest of B-sides and oddments every bit as good as the tunes that make (made) it onto the official albums. Up top, DBT Patterson Hood does a solo version of “George Jones Talkin’ Cell Phone Blues,” from the DBT odds’n’sods collection The Fine Print. I’m adding it to the bookstore sound system, because like the Husker’s “Celebrated Summer” it makes perfect leadfoot music for a drive to the shore. Which is just the kind of thing I want to hear right now.

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Blue Monday

The new Drive-by Truckers opus, The Big To-Do, manages the feat of outdoing its predecessor, Brighter Than Creation’s Dark. The trademark sound — dark, gritty rock shot through with country twang — is even more potent for the absence of filler: no borderline offensive goofs like “Bob,” just thirteen powerful songs about trying (and often failing) to keep body and soul together in the Post-Dubya Age of Suck. It’s Lynyrd Skynyrd with more brains, Crazy Horse with more inspiration, Nebraska with more drive. It’s a formula, but it’s not formulaic. I don’t listen to enough new music these days to feel comfortable making pronouncements like “The DBTs are the best American rock and roll band now standing,” but I’d like to see somebody argue against me on the merits.

   

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