Southern Rock Opera

Southern Rock Opera

by Drive-By Truckers
5.0 2

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Overview

Southern Rock Opera

Don't be deterred by the rather misleading title. Not a rock opera in the sense of Tommy or Jesus Christ Superstar, this sprawling double disc is more akin to a song cycle about Southern rock, in particular Lynyrd Skynyrd. Almost six years in the making, the Drive-By Truckers have created a startlingly intelligent work that proudly stands with the best music of their obvious inspiration. Largely written and conceived by lead trucker Patterson Hood (son of famed Muscle Shoals bassist David Hood), who sings the majority of the songs in a torn, ragged, but emotionally charged twangy voice somewhere between Tom Petty and Rod Stewart, these 20 literate tracks encapsulate a remarkably objective look at what Hood calls "the duality of the South." Rocking with a lean hardness, the story unfolds over 90 minutes, but the savvy lyrical observations never overburden the songs' clenched grip. While bands like the similarly styled Bottle Rockets have worked this territory before, never has a group created an opus that's thematically tied to this genre while objectively exploring its conceptual limitations. The two discs are divided into Acts I and II; the first sets the stage by exploring aspects of an unnamed Southern teen's background growing up as a music fan in an environment where sports stars, not rock stars, were idolized. The second follows him as he joins his Skynyrd-styled dream band, tours the world, and eventually crashes to his death in the same sort of airplane accident that claimed his heroes. The Drive-By Truckers proudly charge through these songs with their three guitars, grinding and soloing with a swampy intensity recalling a grittier, less commercially viable early version of Skynyrd. A potentially dodgy concept that's redeemed by magnificent songwriting, passionate singing, and ruggedly confident but far from over-the-top playing, Southern Rock Opera should be required listening not only for fans of the genre, but anyone interested in the history of '70s rock, or even the history of the South in that decade. More the story of Hood than Skynyrd, this is thought-provoking music that also slashes, burns, and kicks out the jams. Its narrative comes to life through these songs of alienation, excess, and, ultimately, salvation, as seen through the eyes of someone who lived and understands it better than most.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/16/2002
Label: Lost Highway
UPC: 0008817030821
catalogNumber: 170308
Rank: 22604

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Drive-By Truckers   Primary Artist
Anne Richmond Boston   Track Performer
Kelly Hogan   Track Performer
Robert Malone   Track Performer
Mike Cooley   Track Performer
Amy Pike   Track Performer
Jyl Freed   Track Performer
Patterson Hood   Track Performer
Earl Hicks   Track Performer
Brad Morgan   Track Performer

Technical Credits

David Barbe   Producer
Dick Cooper   Producer,Engineer
Drive-By Truckers   Producer
Patterson Hood   Liner Notes
Wes Freed   Artwork,Cover Art
Earl Hicks   Engineer
Lilla Hood   Art Direction,Adaptation

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Southern Rock Opera 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite albums. I have turned several friends on to this band by playing Southern Rock Opera. It should be played from start to finish as DBT actually gave thought as to how the songs played off one another rather than just compiling 13 songs. Power chords and driving drums hit you in the all-out rock anthems. Then there are some very touching ballads. All songs are well-written and musicianship is top-shelf. Do yourself a favor and get this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago