Drive-By Truckers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 March, 2010, 12:00am

Drive-By Truckers
Big To-Do
(ATO Records)

Few lyrics are worth the cost it takes to print them on liner notes, but alt country southern rockers Drive-By Truckers have honed their craft to become poets of the down-trodden and disgraced.

There are a host of amusing, touching tracks, but leader and guitarist Patterson Hood provides one of the best: Birthday Boy, a grim account of a stripper set to a rock'n'roll soundtrack. And That Wig He Made Her Wear is so well written it's unclear whether the cause of the disgraced preacher's death is something to make you laugh or cry murder. There are also some rollicking tunes that help to balance tragic lyrics such as guitarist Mike Cooley's Daddy Learned to Fly about a young boy trying to come to terms with his father's disappearance.

Big To-Do may sound musically confident, but after more than a decade in their current incarnation Drive-By Truckers continue to illustrate life's unfortunates with a grace that is rarely found in popular music.