Graham Reid | | 1 min read
The Truckers inspire passionate loyalty for their Southern-framed country rock'n'roll and literate, sometimes provocative, lyrics.
They often make you want to crack the top off a beer and kick back, but the words touch some deep and dark places as well.
Here they open with a weary song about a guy at the gates of Heaven ("two daughters and a beautiful wife"), blast through some primal Stones'-style rock'n'roll, then offer up a troubled lyric about trying to do right in this troublesome world over a simple thunk'n'thrash. Then Shonna Tucker steps up to the plate for the ballad I'm Sorry Huston.
Elsewhere they are pure country as played by a rock band, reflect on how rock'n'roll changed when grunge-angst was marketed to kids (Self Destructive Zones), and on Home Field Advantage sound like classic Fleetwood Mac filtered through the Atlanta Rhythm Section.
Mike Cooley plays the straight country aces like the pedal-steel coloured Lisa's Birthday and Checkout Time in Vegas.
Great lyrics leap out everywhere: "There's a big fat man on a mechanical bull in slow motion like Debra Winger"; "A bloody nose, empty pockets, a rented car with a trunk full of guns . . ."; "It's all about where you put the horizon, said the great John Ford to the young man rising"; "I don't know God but I fear his wrath, I'm trying to keep focused on the righteous path."
The war in Iraq/Afghanistan gets a drubbing from the point of view of ordinary people affected (the crunching Neil Young rock of That Man I Shot, the Petty-with-pedal steel of The Home Front), and so does the rapaciousness of crystal meth in an eerie interlude.
Lots of musical diversity and moods to get your teeth into.
This is all smart, grabbing stuff and the departure of guitarist/writer Jason Isbell last year doesn't seem to have troubled them -- the Truckers have gained and lost members in the past six years -- and it looks like Spooner Oldham is fixture in the line-up now.
Another terrific Truckers album.