The Drive-By Truckers have continued their ways of rather disheartening storytelling, an Aesop of the true South, if you will. It’s impossible to pin down a single song that doesn’t tell a remarkable or disheartening story. Hailing from Georgia, a true Southern mentality is characteristic of everything they produce. In Sound. In Appeal. In Dress. In Lyrics. They cater to their target audience [presumably ‘The South’] better than a slicked back tie-wearing chump at The Cheesecake Factory. The lifestyles and habits of their loyal followers are remarkably captured in The Big To-Do with incredible precision.
Their dual guitars produce a perfect backdrop for the stories that Patterson Hood vividly and emotionally tells. The guitars are the staple of the Drive-By Truckers, an engrossing aspect made apparent through heavy strumming at times and dueling at others. When Shonna Tucker takes the mic, the flow is somewhat killed, but the strength that this diversity brings to the album is unmatched. It may take a listen or four to embrace Miss Tucker’s voice but it broadens the group’s horizons and amplifies the emotionality once appreciated. One thing that would not be expected from the group is an uppity jam on “Get Downtown” with tinges of the early 1950’s. This piano led, groove throws a pulsating curveball a little outside of their natural strike zone, but it’s a chance they take, and they really knock it out of the park.
The Big To-Do is music’s favorite cookie, doublestuffed with true Southern Rock through and through. Unlike former albums, it contains an album of great songs, unlike previous albums which lack a thoroughness that is present on other albums. The Big To-Do wraps you up in cheating, death, and alcohol from beginning to end, rather dismal topics, but leaves you putting the disc back into the stereo.