Monday, June 23, 2014

Album Review: Cooley Comes Alive with The Drive-By Truckers English Oceans

PHOTO CREDIT: David McClister
It's been over a decade since I jumped on The Drive-By Truckers wagon and although the band cranks out a new release almost every year or two, they never seemed to match the initial thrill of hearing Decoration Day or Brighter Than Creation's Dark. Until now. One listen to English Oceans and it is winner. Could be all the adversity the band's been through the last few years with bassist and songwriter Shonna Tucker, departing the band after eight years and the tragic passing of long time merchandise manager and sometime player Craig Lieske.

Normally in a DbT album, Patterson Hood provides most of the songwriting with Mike Cooley contributing a couple, but for there's an equal split. And even though the dual pen their songs separately there's a nice balance between their individual songs - both musically and lyrically. There's less of Hood's storytelling and more of Cooley's philosophical undertones - even in Hood's songs. See the final track, Grand Canyon, Hood's tribute to Lieske. The new DbT lineup consists of Hood and Cooley, Brad Morgan (drum), Patterson Hood, Jay Gonzalez (keyboards and Guitar), and Matt Patton (bass). You will find me in the crowd this Thursday (6/26) at Baltimore's Rams Head Live. Pair with Athen's Terrapin Beer Company. Cheers.

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