brighter truckers

drive-by truckers

It doesn’t look like Drive-By Truckers will be making their way back to The Dame anytime soon. So why not indulge in a Saturday night road trip to Louisville where the new generation pride of Muscle Shoals, Alabama will further redefine Southern rock stereotypes with music from what might just be their finest album to date.

The January-released Brighter Than Creation’s Dark nicely reflects a ragged triumph-over-adversity theme. As always, the rural detail of the Truckers’ songs possess a darkly spiritual cast. And, for sure, there are trials to face on its road to salvation. Daddy Needs a Drink and You and Your Crystal Meth, for example, state their bleak cases bluntly.

Ditto for That Man I Shot, an unapologetic plea of self-defense that kicks the Truckers’ mighty guitar machine into overdrive, and Goode’s Field Road, a Springsteen-ian saga where desperation leads a tirelessly honest man to an unavoidably crooked demise.

But much of Brighter Than Creation’s Dark is, well, brighter. It’s also considerably more soft-spoken than past Truckers albums. Guitarist Patterson Hood sets a lean, blue collar depiction of family values (“more bills than money, I can do the math”) against a steamrolling, Bottle Rockets-style groove on The Righteous Path.

Later, bassist Shonna Tucker wrestles with love in the afterlife on The Purgatory Line aided by the kind of reverb melancholy that recalls Neko Case. Co-guitarist Mike Cooley also outlines a very earthy country faith in Bob :”he goes to church every Sunday, every Sunday the fish ain’t bitin’.”

“There’s gonna be some fine times and there’s gonna be some pain,” sings Hood in the concluding Monument Valley. How indicative of life, especially the spiritual dance and everyday horrors that populate Brighter Than Creation’s Dark. It’s one of the finer albums to emerge in a young 2008. And Saturday may be our only chance to hear it fully realized onstage.

Drive By Truckers and The Pernice Brothers perform at 9 p.m. Saturday at Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Road in Louisville. Tickets are $25 through Ticketweb. Call (502) 584-8088. 

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