Drive By Truckers, The Dirty South

Peter Blackstock

By Peter Blackstock

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The Dirty South

Drive By Truckers

The Dirty South was practically the third double-album in four years the Drive-By Truckers, its 14 tracks and 70 minutes following 2003's 15-song Decoration Day and the band's 2001 epic Southern Rock Opera. Having three strong songwriters helped: Relative newcomer Jason Isbell contributed four cuts here, most notably the dramatic closer “Goddamn Lonely Love”; lead guitarist Mike Cooley wrote four others, with frontman Patterson Hood penning the other six. Each of them has a distinctive voice, both vocally and verbally, but it all meshes remarkably well, in part because all three share a penchant for storytelling via cultural reference-points, from Isbell's “Danko/Manuel” (a nod to the late greats of The Band) to Cooley's “Carl Perkins 'Cadillac” (a run through Sun Records 'glory days) to Hood's “Buford Stick” (one of two songs that reference Walking Tall film icon Buford Pusser). The high point is Hood's desperate falsetto in “Puttin 'People On The Moon,” a tour de force of the down-and-out Southern working-class.