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2023 Albums Thing 118 - Drive- By Truckers “Decoration Day”

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The follow up to “Southern Rock Opera” saw some changes in Trucker world. They added a 3rd guitar player (trying to emulate that Skynyrd 3 guitar attack ?). Jason Isbell was significantly younger than Hood and Cooley but he could play like he’d been in the band for years and he wrote songs too. In fact he wrote so well that one of his two songs on this record lent its title to the album.

That title song lays out the details of a family feud between the Hill’s and The Lawson’s. In a later interview Jason Isbell revealed that he is part of one of those families and somewhere around Mobile Bay, Lauderdale South and East Tennessee that feud is still alive !

“Decoration Day” is a less focussed album that “Southern Rock Opera” and it’s follow up “The Dirty South”, it’s more of a regular collection of songs rather than the almost concept style of its neighbours. It is however packed with equally affecting stories of the South…Patterson Hood’s “The Deeper In” about an incestuous relationship between a brother and sister (don’t judge, listen)…Jason Isbell’s stunning “Outfit” (which we’ll get on a later record) is a list of good advices from father to sun…and once more Mike Cooley nonchalantly spills out more incredible writing particularly in “Marry Me” a proper rocker “Well, my daddy didn't pull out, but he never apologised, Rock and roll means well, but it can't help tellin' young boys lies”…Patterson’s “My Sweet Annette” is a lovely country stroll about an elopement, and when John Neff’s pedal steel makes it’s glorious entrance it’s a thing that sends shivers through me and makes my soul soar…and I mustn’t forget that Cooley closes things out with “Loaded Gun In the Closet”, a gentle acoustic strum rueing a relationship which is beautiful, sad and disturbing all at the same time.

They’re working in Jason Isbell on “Decoration Day”. The line-up has shifted but it’s settling for a while, soon they’ll add Shonna Tucker on bass to form a steady rhythm section with Brad Morgan to support that formidable 3 guitar attack of the songwriters on the front line…great things are about to happen…

My Sweet Annette - https://youtu.be/Pjy6vuvkfZM

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