Drive-By Truckers – Live From Austin, TX

January 01, 1970

(New West)


After a slight slip into the murky waters of line-up
transition-most notably the 2007 departure of Jason Isbell-the Drive-By
Truckers have now put together quite possibly the most solid touring unit in
the band’s extended history. An appropriate time, then, to release their first
live album in almost 10 years-a 13-song set culled from a taping of the PBS TV
show Austin City Limits last fall.


            Live from Austin, TX, a double-disc
CD/DVD combo, is heavily anchored
with material from the Southern anti-heroes’ latest studio album, 2008’s Brighter than Creation’s Dark. The show
sounds a little cleaner than the ear-ringing, smoke-filled, bourbon-drenched
throwdown that is a typical night with the Truckers. But there’s nothing wrong
with exhibiting a little nuance when the setting calls for it, especially in
the opening acoustic-driven country ramble of Mike Cooley’s “Perfect Timing”
and bassist Shonna Tucker’s rare vocal turn on the roadhouse ballad “I’m Sorry
Huston.” Even Patterson Hood’s endearing redneck punk rasp and primitive Dixie
guitar strokes get a newfound clarity thanks to recent addition John Neff’s
underlying pedal steel work on the common man perseverance anthem “The
Righteous Path.”


            Hood also
makes sure to include the group’s biggest live staples: the Crazy Horse charge
of the rural underbelly lament “Puttin’ People on the Moon,” the fist-pumping
arena licks of “Let There Be Rock” and an epic 12-minute storyteller rant in
“18 Wheels of Love,” which reaches back to the 1998 album Gangstabilly. The latter also features soulful vamps from new
keyboardist Jay Gonzalez, who throughout the show helps the band uncover some
of their Muscle Shoals roots. Hopefully we’ll still be seeing this version of
Drive-By Truckers years down the road.


Standout Tracks: “18
Wheels of Love,” “The Righteous Path,” “3 Dimes Down” JEDD FERRIS


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