Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Song of the insert region here

Play it: The Drive-By Truckers A Blessing and a Curse

After releasing three tremendous Southern-themed masterpieces one right after the other (Southern Rock Opera, Decoration Day, The Dirty South,) the Drive-By Truckers take a step back and release an album that doesn't so much rely on the region, or on a larger theme. A Blessing and a Curse is 11 songs that feel like separate entities, and rely more on personal perspectives instead of their usual wider views.

With great rockers like "Easy On Yourself," "Aftermath U.S.A." and "Daylight," the three-guitar assault (Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and Jason Isbell) is front and center, and reinforces their reputation as a great live band. Meanwhile tracks "Space City" and "A World of Hurt" cut the heart-weary to the bone, and demonstrate that while this is less 'big picture' then past affairs, the small things do matter. The album is less sloppy (which, at times I admit, is missed,) and far more focused - clocking in at only 45 minutes (past albums run 70 minutes and more.)

While A Blessing and a Curse is far less ambitious and daring then past efforts, it's this focus and dedication to the songs that make the album stand on it's own, even without the 'big picture' of the Southern thing, regionality be damned.

Neil Young vs. Lynyrd Skynyrd (feat. Drive-By Truckers)

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