Thursday, August 13, 2009

Drive--By Truckers Are Unique

By Orlis

I've never started a piece out like this before and I never thought I would. But, I hate this band, I really hate this band. Because they make me green. Not green like ecology, not green like sick to my stomach, not green like they're making so much money ... But, "Green With Envy."

I have been studyin' southern culture for over 30 years and I was born from good Mt. Ida hillbilly stock. And I can't stand the fact that about half of what these kids have written ... I wish I had written. Talkin' about the duality of the southern thing. It's kinda a love-hate thang.

Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, the Kingston Trio and such did "Folk Music." Second person accounts of real events. Vance Randolph did six books of transcriptions of first person folk songs, about town drunks, whores, evil bankers, carpetbaggers, bank robbers, maybe even murderers. Well, these guys & gal talk first person at least half the time. Patterson Hood in particular writes much about his five generations of dirt farmers. Mike Cooley evokes daddy, uncles and cousins, moonshining gambling and building hot cars. The now departed Jason Isbell gives much funky southern advice like, "We ain't never gonna change -- we ain't doin' nothing wrong." Even bassist Shonna Tucker has now gotten into song writing. So most of their stuff is real oral history in the great tradition of southern storytellers.

What about their music, you say! Well ... Take some Crazy Horse, add some Skynyrd, some Texas outlaw music, add a couple of dashes of country, maybe even a pinch of hillbilly. You get a potent stew of "southern grunge. It even has the smell of dirt and outhouses on it, with a three guitar line-up. In a nutshell, man they Rock!!!

They have put out eight albums in the last eleven years, gaining momentum with each release, until the last album "Brighter than Creation's Dark" smashed its way to #37 on the charts. If Yankees weren't so scared of 'em, it probably would have been #1.

Their 2001 release "Southern Rock Opera" is about Lynyrd Skynyrd's rise and fall as a scream to arms. Could there be a second secession? It makes all other rock operas seem insipid and impotent. It actually rivals Gershwin in the American canon. The song "The Southern Thing" from this LP is a crash course in what they and I are a talkin' 'bout.

If you want a master's degree listen to the whole catalog.

So if you want to get your butt kicked, just dare to show up at George's Majestic Lounge Friday, August 7th. Have your fists ready to pump ... for a taste of Ozark culture keep checking

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