Drive-By Truckers- Go-Go Boots (ATO/Liberator)

The Georgia-based Drive-By Truckers found themselves in a creative cornucopia while recording last year’s The Big To-Do, with enough songs left over to release what would have been considered a double album in earlier times. The result is Go-Go Boots, which finds the band’s three-guitar attacked toned down in favour of storytelling and musical restraint.

The band features two distinct songwriters and singers. Patterson Hood takes on the majority of the workload. He is a more conventional rock singer and his songwriting is usually character-driven. Two of the songs here, The Fireplace Poker and the title track, detail the stories of philandering men of the cloth, with enough small-town gossip, murder, revenge and sex to fill a couple of cheap novels. On Used To Be A Cop, Hood, tells the story of a former law officer, down on his luck, angry, alone and destitute. Ray’s Automatic Weapon is the cautionary tale of a gun-toting Vietnam vet and, on Assholes, Hood throws a bit of lyrical venom and a former business partner or manager.

Mike Cooley is the other voice of the band. He sings with a pronounced country twang and his songs, like Cartoon Gold and The Weakest Man, or more traditional I nature, although he too can tell a tale or two as in Pulaski, the story of a Nashville girl who sets her sights on Hollywood.

Patterson Hood is the son of David Hood, the bass player for the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, who played on countless classic soul and country records in the 60s. The band has included two songs by Eddie Hinton, Muscle Shoals guitarist and a hugely overlooked singer and songwriter who passed away in 1995. Where’s Eddie is beautifully sung by bass player Shonna Tucker and Everybody Needs Love is as good an example of country-soul as you’re likely to hear this year.

If there is any complaint to be made here, it’s that the band never really lets loose and rocks out and from time-to-time they tend to get a bit lazy musically, as on the lyric-heavy The Fireplace Poker. But overall this is an entertaining, solid offering by a Southern rock band you can be proud to be a fan of.

Marty Duda

Click here to listen to Everybody Needs Love from Go-Go Boots