Drive-By Truckers, "The Big To-Do"

81 Billboard Rating

Drive-By Truckers know all about big to-dos, whether it's releasing a full-blown "Southern Rock Opera" or such sweeping conceptual pieces as "The Dirty South" and their last studio album in 2008, "Brighter Than Creation's Dark." By those standards the band's latest release, "The Big To-Do," is a modest affair: a collection of unconnected-though certainly related-songs that traverse all sorts of Southern terrain and situations. The group's songwriting trio (mainly Patterson Hood) offers the usual array of potent guitar riffs, stomping hard rock and vivid lyricism. The last of which particularly surfaces in Hood's chronicle of "The Flying Wallendas" and the true-life murder tale "The Wig He Made Her Wear." The buoyant "This Fucking Job" and the boogie "Get Downtown" speak to the current economic climate, while the Truckers shift gears with the ethereal ambience of the Shonna Tucker-sung "You Got Another" and the gentle album closer "Eyes Like Glue." Those tracks also highlight the impact that keyboardist Jay Gonzalez is making on the band. -Gary Graff