The sonic and thematic bravura of "Southern Rock Opera," Drive By Truckers' 2001 double disc concept piece, made for some tricky career planning. How does a band follow up a sprawling epic that details the triumph and tragedy of Lynyrd Skynyrd utilizing a soundtrack of evolutionarily superior but solidly rooted Southern rock?
DBT answers that slippery question with the bold and similarly conceptual "Decoration Day." Threaded by songs that examine the big events in small people's lives, this finds DBT returning to the country sound of their earlier independent recordings ("The Deeper In," "Heathens") while retaining the blistering roots rock approach that made SRO a rousing, raucous success (the thundering "Hell No, I Ain't Happy," the Stonesy throb of "Do It Yourself," the Skynyrd jolt of "Sink Hole").
First with the ambitiously brilliant "Southern Rock Opera" and now with the equally armed new music, Drive By Truckers bring respect and honor back to the chicken wire majesty of Southern country rock.