I've been listening to this album pretty much non-stop for the last couple of weeks. As a longtime DBT fan, I'm pretty comfortable in saying that I think this is their best album yet. I was worried when Jason Isbell left the band. I wasn't sure the band could keep up the quality without Jason in the band. But I was wrong. And that's not in any way meant to be a knock on Jason Isbell. (I love his solo record!) It's just that DBT pulled a rabbit out of their hat with BTCD. From start to finish, this record is nothing but top-notch songs. Great melodies, great lyrics. Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood...along with the impressive Shonna Tucker...really hit a home run with this one. Too long? No way. Full of filler? No way. Nineteen kick-butt songs, and nothing else. I swear, there isn't a bad song on this album. And there are a bunch that stand out as just totally killer tracks: "Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife," "The Righteous Path," "I'm Sorry Huston," "Self Destructive Zones," "The Opening Act," "That Man I Shot" (rock and roll!!!), "The Purgatory Line," and the album closer, "Monument Valley." All freakin' fabulous songs. And my favorite song (for the moment) on the album? "You and Your Crystal Meth." Never have I heard 7 notes on a piano tell such a chilling, haunting story. By far one of the most thought-provoking songs I've heard in a long time. I really and truly think this is the Drive-By Truckers best album to date. They've had other fabulous records, but this one shows that their aging like fine wine. Hats off to Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and the rest of the best Southern rock and roll band in the world today. And one of the best rock and roll bands in the world...period!
on May 17, 2008
This is an amazing album by an amazing band. To me, this is the best album of the decade so far. Not that I know every record made, but it is my favorite of anything I have heard. Is it flawless, no, a few of the (19!) songs are good but not great, "That Man I Shot" could have used a little work on the structure / lyrics toward the end, but Patterson Hood just continues to amaze with some of the most intelligent lyrics (are some of them a bit dark, yes, but I find it interesting, insightful, and often wry / funny rather than morose) as does Mike Cooley, and Shonna gives a great freshman effort in throwing her impressive creativity into the mix. The music is as varied as it is excellent, although this is decidedly more mellow than some of their older work. The overall way DBT has mixed country, progressive rock, 70's rock, and southern rock into their own unique hybrid, and added in exceptionally intelligent lyrics and passion, to me is just frackin' awesome. I just love it when a band forges their own path that is hard to compare to what came before them, rather than just copying what has already been done. And I give them a lot of credit on this album to be able to recover from the loss of a key band member, and use that as an opportunity to go in a slightly different direction rather than re-hashing what they have already done. The elevation of Shonna into a song writing role, the heavier incorporation of steel guitar, and a greater proportion of...I hate to say mellow...it's not like it will put you to sleep, but most of it is more akin to the mellow tone of My Sweet Annette rather than the more blazing old songs like Sinkhole, but to me, that is nice in that it is something a little different. I am so addicted to this album. In the first week I got it I listened to it over and over and over until I had to force myself to stop, for fear of wearing out the appeal of it. I can't get it out of my head. Buy this album.
on March 4, 2015
This baby has been sitting in my vast archives for years. I bought it right when it came out but mourned the loss of Jason to greener paths. It was just ok at the time. Maybe it had something to do with the loss of Jason who I though was their finest writer and best vocalist. Then I read they were coming to town with a semi--unplugged show in April 2015. I really was excited about this. I love the band but really get tired of their concerts--I know --Jack Daniels and all the other happy southern stuff. But, honestly, they often sound terrible near the end of their shows--too loud and sloppy for my tastes.
So I gave this CD another spin. It was good. Then, another spin, better. Then another spin--I thought, wow, this is really good.
It starts off with a gorgeous ballad that is rare for a band--no band starts off with one of their prettier, mellower songs. But they pulled it off to a tee-Two daughters and a beautiful wife, Patterson at his finest, but really the band just shines--some sweet piano, some tasty pedal steel...such a fine song. Then Cooley kicks in with some fine Stones/Replacements type songs, and a real nice country song--Lisa's Birthday (also Bob). He sounds like Randy Travis...very tasty. Shonna adds some sweet tunes.
This is a strong album, maybe their best. I need to catch up and get their last three. Like I said, I got jaded by their obnoxious and drunken shows, but will give it a go in April. I almost prefer their studio stuff compared to their live stuff. I would say, in sum, that the first ten songs could easily be a greatest hits album. It is that strong--both the songwriting as well as the performances...just rich, atmospheric, deep stuff...each song different from the previous one. That is rare indeed!
on September 8, 2008
I have a couple of DBT previous efforts, and love them all and rate this up with all I have listened to, for the simple reason that the emotional resonance of the material is far ahead of, and more real than whats gone before. I'm sorry previous reviewers but just because you don't do P (Crystal Meth)and thats a good thing, isn't reason to not try and understand a corner of society and the message being conveyed. I wonder just how some people listen to music. Do you just switch off when you don't like the subject material? (Oh that doesn't suit my small town sensibilities, I will skip this track and give a bummer review)This music is challenging, dark and sometimes scary. Its not better or worse than previous efforts its of a time and a place both in terms of the band and of the environment being talked about. I'm looking forward to listening to Brighter than Creations Dark over the next couple of years and making sense of its many parts and enjoying the dark themes and storys.
A seriously good band. Not commercial but the producer of serious tales of the twisted American south.
on January 26, 2008
Ever since their critical breakout Southern Rock Opera The mainstream press has always wanted to compare The Drive By Truckers with Lynyrd Skynyrd. I suppose some of this is the band's fault, by making a song cycle out of Skynyrd the comparisons were inevitable. The thing is the band that I've always thought they should be compared with (if being compared at all) is The Replacements, albeit with two exceptions. The first being southern accents and the southern lore behind them, and the second being the fact that DBT has always had multiple songwriters pulling the whole thing together. It all starts with Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley though despite some fantastic songs by former guitarist Jason Isbell over his three album run and now, on Brighter Than Creation's Dark, three excellent songs by his ex-wife, bassist Shonna Tucker. Cooley has always been less prolific than Hood, until now. On BTCD Cooley contributes 7 stellar tracks ranging from the straight up country of "Lisa's Birthday" to the rocking Exile on Main Street inspired "Three Dimes Down". HIs finest contribution to this album, however, might be "Perfect Timing" about a man coming to terms with himself. The line "I used to hate the fool in me but only in the morning now I tolerate him all day long" is absolutely brilliant but will probably have it's greatest impact on those of us who saw the age of 30 a long time ago. Hood mines similar territory here with his excellent "The Righteous Path" but takes a less philosophical and more everyman approach.
The real strength of BTCD is it's musical diversity. It can go from hauntingly beautiful and sad, "Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife" to whimiscal and profound in "Bob" and then go ahead and rock out with Tucker's "Homfield Advantage" and the previously mentioned "Three Dimes Down" and "The Righteous Path". 19 songs is a heck of alot for one album but this one wouldn't be as good if even one track were removed. As I mentioned Shonna Tucker is a revelation on this album, both for her own excellent three songs and the delightful harmonies she provides on Hood's tracks. I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out the contributions form always steady drummer Brad "EZB" Morgan, Guitarist/Pedal Steel player John Neff, and the legenday Muscle Shoals organist Spooner Oldham. Neff's picking is subtle when it needs to be and upfront when that's required more than making up for the loss of Jason Isbell. Oldham's organ lines are nothing short of magic giving DBT an entirely new element to the soundscape (although he did also appear on "When the Pin Hits the Shell").
In the end all you need to know is that this album is an instant classic, possibly the best ever by an already stellar band. If you liked them before it's nearly a foregone coonclusion that you'll like this record. If you're new to DBT pick it up, you just might like what you hear.
on January 23, 2008
This is a great album with a nice variety of styles. The best way to describe it is that it's real Rock and Roll for real people. Think Lynyrd Skynyrd, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, and Buffalo Springfield all wrapped up in one channeled for the 21st Century! If you don't like those groups you need not apply. Favorites include Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife, The Righteous Path, Three Dimes Down, and The Man I Shot to name just a few. Brighter Than Creation's Dark Rocks!
on January 22, 2008
First of all, thank you Amazon for offering this in 256/DRM-free format. And most importantly, thanks to DBT for giving us this exceptional piece of work. This is the Trucker's strongest effort since The Southern Rock Opera in my humble opinion.
The departure of Jason Isbell had me concerned but those concerns have been laid to rest. I must say the Truckers sound better than ever! Brighter Than Creation's Dark will be rockin' my headphones, home sound system and car for quite some time.
Don't hesitate. Treat yourself. Buy this now!!!
on February 9, 2008
2007 was a busy year for a band that didn't release an album. First off, after providing solid song writing and vocals for the past three albums, guitarist Jason Isbell departed for a solo career. That prompted last year's underrated Sirens of the Ditch. Then came a temporary marriage made in Heaven as the Truckers' provided the bulk of the music and a good chunk of the inspiration for Bettye LaVette's outstanding The Scene of the Crime - one of 2007's finest. As a band that typically produces albums at a pace second only to Ryan Adams, it was no surprise that they had yet another one in the works. Indeed, Brighter Than Creation's Dark is not only one of their finer albums, it may be their finest. Isbell's departure opened the door long-time DBT support man John Neff to add his steel guitar to the mix. Master keyboardist Spooner Oldham contributes a little Muscle Shoals-sound to the mix. Perhaps the finest addition are the vocals of bassist Shonna Tucker. I don't know why the band waited so long to let her near a microphone, but the results on "Houston" and "Purgatory" are quite remarkable. Not that Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley stand idle. Even with nineteen songs, there's no filler to be found on this deep-fried tour of the wrong-ends of the South. Musically, they're still Alt-Country that owes more to Cash than Skynyrd, but instead of being in the bed of a beater pick-up speeding over the dusty backroads of the Dirty South as seemed the pace on previous albums, this one slows down to take in more of the sights - dismal and dour they may be. Hood starts things off nicely with the exquisite "Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife." From there Cooley leaps in with both feet for the rousing "3 Dimes Down" - shamelessly borrowing the line "Come back baby, rock and roll never forgets." Other standouts include the Man in Black inspired "Lisa's Birthday," "The Purgatory Line" with Oldham's subtle Fender Rhodes accompanying Tucker's tender vocals, and the searing "The Righteous Path." The Iraq War inspires two of the albums most heartfelt tracks with Hood's "That Man I Shot" and "The Home Front." Nothing overly political or sermonizing in either song. Instead both songs lift the veil beyond rhetoric to touch on the the pain and loss this war brings to both those in it and to their loved ones. If "Brighter Than Creation's Dark" represents a new path for this talented band, then I only hope there are many more trips down this wonderful road.
on January 24, 2008
Came to DBT's somewhat late in the game (first show was on The Dirty South tour) and, like a lot of folks, was pretty amazed by the SRO-Decoration Day-Dirty South run. Blessing was short, not cohesive, and just kind of seemed thrown together - although it was still a whole lot better than most music put out that year. But the album gave me the feeling that Jason was saving his best songs for his solo album.
Brighter, however, is a surprisingly wonderful return to the quality we've come to expect from the Truckers. More mellow than the last few? Yes, but Neff's pedal steel is mesmerizing and Shonna's 3 contributions are damn good. And Patterson and Cooley are in true form, squashing any fears that Jason's departure would leave a big hole.
No filler in this batch. Every tune stands on its own against the best the Truckers have ever put out.
on January 22, 2008
This is a great DBT album! If it's not their best, it's pretty darn close. The reviews of this album labelled it "too long" with too much "filler".
I've listen to this album twice today already and I can't find any song that I wouldn't have on it. I always thought that having Jason in the band prevented Cooley from having more songs on the album. I'm glad this problem was rectified....
Keep it up Boys!