Home Read Classic Album Review: Drive-By Truckers | Decoration Day

Classic Album Review: Drive-By Truckers | Decoration Day

The southern vets blast out another mighty set of ragged, raw-boned roots-rock.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


They are Southern. And boy howdy, do they rock. But Georgia’s Drive-By Truckers are not a Southern Rock band in the usual sense — even if they do have three guitarists and did write a rock opera about Skynyrd a few years back.

Seek out their exceptional fifth album Decoration Day and see for yourself. You won’t find many slick boogie-rock grooves or harmonized three-guitar solos on these 15 cuts from raspy ringleader Patterson Hood and his cronies. What you will get is an earful of ragged, raw-boned roots-metal that reminds you of Neil Young & Crazy Horse. And a whole whack of blackly humourous lyrics that read like a cross between Bruce Springsteen and William Faulkner — two-fisted tales of incestuous romance, murderous farmers, loaded shotguns, feuding clans, abusive husbands, graveside visits and dreams that are deader than that Chevy out on blocks behind the double-wide. I’d be fibbing if we said Decoration Day is as epic as 2001’s Southern Rock Opera. But hell, any band that writes songs with titles like Hell No, I Ain’t Happy, Your Daddy Hates Me and (Something’s Got To) Give Pretty Soon is still doing plenty right in our book. Even better: They don’t play Free Bird.