Decoration Day

After a short-lived association with Lost Highway, Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers make their move to West Coast roots indie New West.

After a short-lived association with Lost Highway, Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers make their move to West Coast roots indie New West. Their label debut, cut for the major, is a potent mix of diverse styles. At times reminiscent of such progenitors as Lynyrd Skynyrd (subject of their "Southern Rock Opera") and the Allman Brothers, the Truckers just as frequently conjure comparisons to Bruce Springsteen (in anthem mode) and Paul Westerberg (in sensitive mode). A few of the rockers here veer perilously close to the generic; it's the lower-key material—"My Sweet Annette," "Heathens," "Sounds Better in the Song"—that stands out from the pack. Ultimately, principal songwriter Patterson Hood's daring (his "The Deeper In" concerns consensual incest) and biting point of view lift the Truckers high above their chicken-fried boogie brethren.—CM