The Drive By Truckers
New West Records
By James Calemine
“Just cause I don’t run my mouth don’t mean I got nothing to say…”
Decoration Day represents a new era in the Drive by Truckers history. It counts as Jason Isbell’s first album with The Truckers. It’s no secret The Drive By Truckers are one of the meanest rock and roll bands on the planet and Decoration Day stands as smash-mouth testimony. Recorded at Athens, Georgia, music sorcerer David Barbe’s studio, these 15 songs established The Truckers as a real force. Un-ignorable.
Patterson Hood’s “The Deeper In” retains a sacred tone found in ramshackle palaces all across the country…a voice for the common man. No doubt with Isbell, Mike Cooley and Hood’s guitar playing a wide net casts a sonic landscape. Pedal steel expert John Neff lends beautiful colors to these songs. “Sink Hole” tells a merciless story of a farmer losing the land to a bank after many generations of his family’s cultivation.
Written on Highway 666 somewhere in Southern Utah, “Hell No I Ain’t Happy”, emerges as a gritty tale regarding a working band suffering the sacrifices of the road that rattles the teeth. Mike Cooley’s “Marry Me” would make Keith Richards proud. These songs are not for the weak-hearted. Decoration Day’s centerpiece song, “Heathens”, proves timeless. The tones, the lyrics, and resonance all coalesce into a flawless song that proves a Truckers gem.
“Your Daddy Hates Me” indicates why the Truckers music evokes emotive reactions and that is because of their ruthless honesty. Cooley’s “When The Pin Hits The Shell” weaves a savage reality of suicide and losing someone you love…timeless musical stories being told here…real folklore. The title track, a Jason Isbell song, prove his talent was obvious and that he was a secret weapon for the band. Cooley’s “Loaded Gun In the Closet” closes the album in a dark shadow that only served as a prelude to the Trucker’s next album. Decoration Day stands as an essential volume in The Drive By Truckers discography.