Drugs, desperation, suicide, Alabama-born bed-time stories, and quirky southern character studies — a little bit country and a whole lot of rock ‘n roll. In other words, a Drive-By Truckers album. Tomorrow, the Truckers will release their seventh LP, Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, the first DBT album since the departure of guitarist/songwriter Jason Isbell (who came on board after 2001’s Southern Rock Opera). Also noteworthy is the return of Athens’ resident pedal-steel wiz John Neff (Japancakes, Star Room Boys) as a full-time member, not to mention the charms of veteran Southern session legend Spooner Oldham. In Isbell’s stead, Truckers bassist, Shonna Tucker’s songwriting and vocal duties are highlighted; here she has three songs alongside Patterson Hood’s nine contributions and Mike Cooley’s seven.

A sprawling affair at 19 songs, Brighter Than Creation’s Dark may, at least initially, lose the casual listener reared on the iPod and the quick fix. Their loss as this is without a doubt the Truckers best work since Decoration Day. Dense, nuanced and textured, the album flirts with various genres ranging from country & western, r&b, southern rock, and Sixties soul. Per usual, the band distills these influences, and more, into their own brand of Southern gothic storytelling all the while ultimately (now a decade into their career) sounding like themselves. And we’re glad for it.

Due, at least in part, to its length, the album, despite the rockers, has a somewhat rolling, laid back, quality to it that I predict will only add to its strength as the years wear on. It has legs.  There is just no digesting this album within the span of four weeks, or more likely, four months. This is in sharp contrast to that band’s last album, 2006’s (albeit underrated) A Blessing And A Curse, whose pace and style rarely let up for a breath.

For a band who first won national acclaim for their double album “rock opera” based on the intricacies, eccentricities, and, above all, the duality of the South, the Drive-By Truckers have firmly etched themselves into the very fabric of her music. And she’s better for it.

Off The Record :: Patterson Hood (Athens, GA)


MP3: Drive-By Truckers :: Two Daughters And A Beautiful Wife
Amazon: Drive-by Truckers – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark

www.drivebytruckers.com ++ new west ++ www.myspace.com/drivebytruckers

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7 Responses to “Drive-By Truckers :: Brighter Than Creation’s Dark”

  1. Well, I’m glad to hear that the new one is gonna be a good one. I was kind of worried about what would happen with Isbell’s departure. Sounds like they’ve hunkered down. Can’t wait for Monday (UK release).

    Anyone know why they cancelled their Oxford show? I was looking forward to seeing the guys again.

  2. They’re entire European tour was postponed. Scroll down a bit in this link and Patterson Hood mentions it and says it will be re-scheduled:


  3. The album has been up on Rhapsody for a week. Its incredibly good. I’ll be buying the album tmrw, hitting up their show at the Avalon in Feb.

  4. I’m glad to see you mention this album without dissing A Blessing and A Curse, like many other reviewers seem to be doing. I think it’s definitely underrate. Anyway, looking forward to buying the new one tomorrow.

  5. Pitchfork has a pretty good interview with Patterson up right now. Sheds some insight into what their thoughts in creating A Blessing and a Curse were versus the new album – plus a lot of other stuff.

    At the end of the interview, in what would officially make me wet myself, Patterson enthuses that he would love to put together a DBT/Hold Steady tour.

    Here’s the interview.

  6. […] I was one of a moaning Greek chorus regarding the fate of the Drive-By Truckers following Jason Isbell’s departure for a solo career. The Athens, Georgia based Alabamans led by Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley did the best recordings of their career after Isbell joined the band in 2001. His leaving the band coupled with the Truckers’ sub par 2006 release “A Blessing and a Curse” made me fear that the band’s best days were behind them. However, a couple of excellent reviews from sources I have a great amount of respect for convinced me to pick up the new album and I am damn glad that I did. Isbell’s loss is noticeable, but it turns out to not be as bad a thing as I thought it might. First of all, DBT has always been Cooley & Hood’s baby and they are the foundation of the band – as long as these two are around, the Truckers are going to be the Truckers. With the return of guitarist John Neff, the Truckers’ swing back toward their earlier efforts – there’s a lot more steel guitar a lot more of a country or honky-tonk sound. This is a good thing. Isbell’s ex-wife Shonna Tucker steps up as well, contributing vocals on three songs and her (and drummer Brad Morgan’s) rhythm section really shines on this album in a way that it hasn’t on past records. At 19 songs it’s a bit of a sprawling record, but it doesn’t lag in the way that it could. “Brighter Than Creation’s Dark” is their best effort since “Decoration Day” and while it may not be a good entry album for new listeners, for DBT fans it’s a must. Color me impressed. Enjoy Cooley’s “3 Dimes Down” and if you like it The Drive-By Truckers’ “Brighter Than Creation’s Dark” is available at your local independent record shop, and Amazon. […]

  7. Cool interview with Patterson Hood by David Lowery of RadioVA


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