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Drive-By Truckers

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When Drive-By Truckers hit the studio early last year, the Alabama-via-Athens sextet were fresh from experiences that would have a profound effect on their next album. The Truckers had been on a long road trip supporting their last album, 2008's stripped back and country-flavored "Brighter Than Creation's Dark," which had been largely written on the band's acoustic Dirt Underneath Tour. They had also just recently wrapped up the whirlwind sessions that produced Booker T's Grammy-nominated "Potato Hole" album.   ...
To say that the Drive-By Truckers had a tumultuous 2007 would be akin to observing that Donald Trump has a few semolians. Still, last year's departure of Jason Isbell from the Truckers' ranks had the air of inevitability around it; he had been working piecemeal on his own album for more than two years when he announced his exit from the band to concentrate on his solo career. For the Truckers, who just released "Brighter Than Creation's Dark," Isbell's absence represented the loss of a guitarist, vocalist and valued songwriter.  ...
If you listen to the new "Decoration Day" album by Drive-By Truckers, and you're not hurting a little bit by album's end, then you probably weren't really paying attention. From a listener's perspective, this album is truly an example of no pain, no gain. Because underneath its blanket of raw Southern rock - sans even a hint of that style's blissfully ignorant hedonism - these Truckers weigh down their song characters with oversized loads of emotional baggage. Along the way, brides-to-be get left at the altar, sons sadly follow in their father's weary footsteps, and life is never what you might term happy-go-lucky.  ...

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