I discovered these gents (and Shonna) by going through the lineup of past music festivals (one of my favorite ways to discover new music). I didn’t know what to expect from a name like Drive By Truckers. Their style is definitely influenced by music greats Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. On their eighth studio album The Big To-Do it doesn’t take long to discover that. After eight (now nine) studio albums and a plethora of live shows they have certainly found their sound and honed their talents to lay down a thoroughly entertaining 54 minutes of rock and roll.
Genres can be rather misleading. Anyone with a MySpace page can classify a band or album into a specific genre. This album has been classified as Southern rock and alternative country. DBT has been classified as Alternative country, alternative rock, cowpunk, and Southern rock.
Tangent: WHAT THE HELL IS COWPUNK?!
Let’s find out!
If the internet says so then it must be true! I know I should be punching myself in the spleen1 for even bringing this into the house, but, Wikipedia (shudder) defines cowpunk as: “Cowpunk or Country punk is a subgenre of punk rock that began in the UK and California in the late 1970s and early 1980s.”
How does something that even remotely country originate in the UK? Was there an album where Willy Nelson featured the Sex Pistols I was unaware of? After the Bing Crosby/David Bowie duet I think we’ve learned our lesson.
Ok, sorry about that. I’m going to sweep this whole discussion and classification up into simply southern rock. I think that accurately defines where these talented folks fall.
It didn’t take long for me to settle into the little town on the outskirts of civilization that is The Big To-Do. It is a very welcoming town where the locals speak what is on their mind without holding anything back. Whether you’re sitting down to a cup of tea listening to the local church group telling you about “The Wig He Made Her Wear” or listening to the regulars at the saloon advising deputy Charlie to drag the lake “Lester didn’t come home last night and Wanda’s all irate. Better keep your fingers crossed and hope we find him drowned. Wanda’s gonna come and kill us all if he shows up in town…”, then laughing hysterically because they’ve been drinking for the last 4 hours.
By the time we reach the story of “The Flying Wallendas” you feel you’re a part of this little town on the highway of life. When the time comes to get back in your car and continue down the highway you feel a little better having stopped to learn the stories of these folks. You’ll make it a point to stop in next time you’re passing through because you know deep down inside this is the kind of place that doesn’t change all that much over time. That’s a good thing.
Drive By Truckers is not the kind of band you expect to see headlining major events. You’re probably not going to be able to catch a glimpse of them selling out major venues or bringing the house down at a music award show. They are the type of band that should stick to smaller venues and festivals. If you enjoy the likes of Tom Petty, The Allman Brothers, or rocking out to some Sothern Rock give this a spin in the old Discman because I know if it were on tape, it would eventually be worn out. If you have seen these DBT live, let me know. I’m very interested in how their music transfers over live.
1. HA! Jokes on you. I don’t have a spleen.