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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Drive By Truckers keep doing something right

The Paradise, Boston, Sept. 14, 2004

By Jeffrey B. Remz

BOSTON - The Drive By Truckers must be doing something right. They're getting more and more acclaim for their commercial releases with their latest "The Dirty South."

And they also apparently have been around long enough to know what it takes to put it across in concert as they did in a very generous 2-1/4 hour show before about 450 people.

When one thinks of DBT, Patterson Hood immediately comes to mind as the driving force behind the band.

But in concert, at least, that was very far from the case. While Hood is literally center stage, that didn't mean he was a mic hog when it came to the proceedings.

Far far from it.

In fact, the concert started with guitarist Mike Cooley letting loose with his full sounding vocals.

But that wasn't the only time had a chance to shine. And Cooley has a lot of timbre in his voice, a good contrast to his band mates.

Fellow guitarist Jason Isbell also enjoyed numerous turns behind the mic.

Hood, who has the most personality of the three, does a good job himself in his turns at singing ("Bulldozers and Dirt" was a particular highlight), but the fact that the Truckers have three capable lead singers makes for a more interesting mix.

The songs have a lot of meat on the hoof from "Sink Hole" to "The Day John Henry Died." Trucker songs tend to have a lot of melody and hook, making it easier for the listener to jump aboard. And while the Truckers can rock, they also changed it up enough throughout the set to avoid tedium setting in.

One got the sense that the Drive By Truckers may have been around for awhile, but they certainly are not overstaying their welcome (well, the show could have been a tad shorter actually) career-wise. In fact, just the opposite. This could be a group whose better days remain ahead.

Allison Moorer opened the evening with a mixed bag of a set. She's not mining the same field as when she started the music business, which means she is rocking more often than not.

The problem with that is that it doesn't tend to let her very fine voice shine through. And the songs also didn't necessarily prove to be all that distinctive when she rocked.

Moorer, whose band includes Dan Baird, scored very well towards the end of the set with bluesy, soulful songs like "Goin' Down" and "All Aboard," with a Tom Petty feel. But if you were expecting "A Harder Place to Fall" and similar songs, that wasn't what Moorer had in mind this night.