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The Drive-By Truckers' tenth release explores territory familiar to the Athens-based band, which continues to mine the vein of ’08's Brighter Than Creation's Dark, with more tales of losers, juicers, a low-budget hooker, and a displaced blue-collar worker, all leavened with a dollop of Southern boy, Gen-X angst.

The opener, "Daddy Learned To Fly," showcases the three-guitar attack of Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and John Neff, laying down a crunchy, power-chord foundation. Bassist Shonna Tucker contributes lead vocals on two self-penned compositions — the keyboard-driven ballad "You Got Another" and the rollicking "(It's Gonna Be) I Told You So."

Other standouts are Hood's "Fourth Night of My Drinking" and "The Wig He Made Her Wear," the story of a wife who murdered her preacher-husband and won a jury's mercy; the caustic whore in Cooley's "Birthday Boy" and bickering couple in his "Get Downtown"; and Hood's homage to the ill-fated aerialists, "The Flying Wallendas."

Less a concept album than a song cycle, The Big To-Do is musically tight, lyrically clean, and evenly balanced between Hood's hard Southern rock and Cooley's rootsy Americana.

  • Album: The Big To-Do (2010)
  • Artist: Drive-By Truckers
  • Label: ATO Records
  • Songs: Daddy Learned To Fly, The Fourth Night of My Drinking, Birthday Boy, Drag the Lake Charlie, the Wig He Made Her Wear, You Got Another, This Fucking Job, Get Downtown, After the Scene Dies, (It's Gonna Be) I Told You So, Santa Fe, The Flying Wallendas, Eyes Like Glue
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