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Rock - Paru le 2 octobre 2020 | ATO Records

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Avec presque 25 ans de carrière au compteur, Drive-By Truckers est devenu l’une des places fortes de la country alternative américaine. Le groupe avait publié au début de l’année 2020 The Unraveling, le successeur attendu de American Band, quatre ans après la sortie de ce dernier. Il n’aura pas fallu attendre aussi longtemps pour voir la formation originaire d’Athens en Géorgie, enrichir sa discographie d’un treizième chapitre. Contraint au confinement en raison de la pandémie de Covid-19, le groupe a en effet mis à profit cette période pour offrir neuf nouvelles compositions.Les frustrations de ne pouvoir faire face à leur public, jouer en concert, et plus généralement vivre au ralenti sont logiquement au cœur des débats, de même que la politique environnementale américaine. Intense, le début d’album est marqué par plusieurs réussites : « The New OK », la chanson-titre, explore d’abord avec efficacité les émotions du groupe, et notamment une certaine colère, intelligemment diluée dans un arrangement mené pied au plancher. Le ton est donné pour la suite, mais c’est pourtant avec un morceau laid-back, « Tough to Let Go » que Drive-By Truckers enchaîne. Celui-ci, s’appuyant sur une batterie solide et des guitares discrètes, abrite un refrain à la mélodie irrésistible sur lequel brillent des claviers chaleureux. Les guitares vénéneuses et joueuses de « The Unravelling » précèdent l’abrasif « The Perilous Night », probablement l’un des meilleurs titres de l’album avec son chant habité, ses notes de piano virevoltantes, ses chœurs épatants et des guitares tranchantes comme des lames de rasoir. L’histoire de la « working-class woman » Sarah, sur la ballade « Sarah's Flame », est une nouvelle preuve du talent narratif de Drive-By Truckers, tandis que l’arrangement, avec son clavier cotonneux et sa batterie disciplinée, sert au mieux une mélodie finement ciselée. L’habité « Watching the Orange Clouds », aussi beau qu’effrayant, dépeint avec une certaine nonchalance la fin du monde, tandis que le groupe choisit de reprendre le célèbre « The KKK Took My Baby Away » des Ramones dans une version rafraîchissante. The New OK n’est au final pas ce que chacun aurait pu craindre pour un deuxième album en quelques mois : un disque où se serait ressenti le désœuvrement. C’est au contraire un opus surprenant, plein de vie, et qui fera date dans la discographie du groupe. © ©Copyright Music Story 2021
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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 31 janvier 2020 | ATO (UK)

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Quatre ans après American Band, les Drive-By Truckers sont de retour avec The Unraveling, enregistré fin 2018 à Memphis dans les studios Sam Philips. Et la formation d’Athens ne fait pas franchement dans la dentelle pour son retour en s’attaquant frontalement à l’Amérique de Trump. Dès le morceau d’ouverture, sur lequel plane l’ombre bienveillante de Neil Young, c’est le puissant lobby des armes à feu, le NRA, qui est dans le collimateur. « Rosemary With Bible and A Gun » ne manie en effet l’ironie que dans son titre et propose un texte incisif qui fait mouche grâce notamment à la voix légèrement cabossée de Patterson Hood. Le vigoureux « Armaggedon’s Back In Town » précède la ballade folk-americana « Thoughts and Prayers » avant que « 21st Century USA » ne se focalise avec à-propos sur l’Amérique d’en bas dans une chronique sociale que le « Loner », une fois de plus, n’aurait sûrement pas reniée. « Heroin Again » se penche à son tour sur l’Amérique des laissés pour compte, celle des victimes de l’héroïne, abandonnées par le système dès leur plus jeune âge sans qu’aucune volonté politique ne vienne enrayer le fléau. Cody Dickinson, des North Mississippi All Stars, vient un peu plus loin mettre le feu sur l’hypnotique « Babies in Cages ». « Grievance Merchants » et « Awaiting Resurrection » viennent clore avec caractère un disque augurant d’une année d’élections décisives pour la société américaine. Avec ses presque 9 minutes de tension, « Awaiting Resurrection » symbolise d’ailleurs à la perfection cette Amérique qui retient son souffle avant l’explosion finale. En évitant soigneusement d’éviter les sujets qui fâchent, comme les tueries de masse ou la crise des frontières, Drive-By Truckers met violemment les pieds dans le plat et signe un disque intense. © ©Copyright Music Story Ollmedia 2020
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Rock - Paru le 1 janvier 2002 | Lost Highway Records

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Rock - Paru le 13 juillet 2021 | New West Records

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Rock - Paru le 30 octobre 2015 | ATO Records

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One of the reasons the Drive-By Truckers have matured into one of America's finest rock & roll bands is ambition; they're solid players and write great songs, but just as important, they take storytelling seriously, and when they make an album, they strive to do more than just serve up a bunch of new songs. Most DBT releases aren't specifically concept albums, but nearly all of them have a thematic consistency in which the individual songs cohere into a larger framework. With this in mind, it makes sense that the band would want to do something more elaborate than the run-of-the-mill live disc, and 2015's It's Great to Be Alive!, recorded during a three-night stand at the the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, California in the fall of 2014, is an oversized (over three hours on three CDs or five LPs) look at the band's body of work so far, with a set list that reaches back before the beginning ("Runaway Train" was a tune Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley cut for their pre-DBT band Adam's House Cat) all the way up to English Oceans, the album the group released just a few months before these shows. The Drive-By Truckers have always prided themselves on a butt-kicking live show, so it's a bit of a surprise that It's Great to Be Alive! relies so strongly on dynamics, dialing back the tempo and impact of some of the tunes rather than making this set the full-on blowout some fans would expect. It's Great to Be Alive! focuses less on the sweat and fire of a live gig than on the songs, as Hood and Cooley draw their portraits of folks trying to make the best of life's situations, which is often a harder and more desperate task than one would imagine. The relatively subdued attack does make more room for Cooley and Hood's vocals, and both are in strong voice here, and if these performances are often a bit less finely nuanced than the studio originals, nearly everything here sounds more passionate, and the musicianship is excellent, especially Cooley and Hood's dueling guitar work, Jay Gonzalez's keyboards, and Brad Morgan's drumming, which is endlessly implacable and full of lean, thoughtful groove (if this band has a secret weapon, it's Morgan). If It's Great to Be Alive! doesn't rock with the usual fury of a Drive-By Truckers live set, the band knows when and where to kick out the jams (especially on the three uptempo Southern Rock Opera numbers on disc three), and this 198-minute marathon leaves no doubt that this constantly evolving band is still growing and shifting and putting new perspectives on its music. It's Great to Be Alive! is a bit less than the definitive document of the live DBT experience, but if you want to know why this is a great band and how good it can be on-stage, this set will tell you just about everything you need to know. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 30 septembre 2016 | ATO (UK)

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From their breakthrough album (2001's Southern Rock Opera) onward, the Drive-By Truckers have never shied away from dealing with the political and philosophical divides that come with life in the American South. But as issues of race, violence, and the failings of the electoral process have come to dominate the national conversation in 2016, the Drive-By Truckers have responded with their most explicitly political album to date. American Band contains a dozen songs that deal with familiar themes for this band in some respects, but instead of pondering "the Southern Thing," these are stories that confront all sides of a great but troubled nation, as racism means not just the mixed message of the rebel flag but the unjust death of Trayvon Martin, and one tries to come to terms with the many ways our culture is slowly changing in some ways and stubbornly refusing to evolve in others. This is music full of both fury and purpose, but with rare exceptions, American Band isn't an album of anger but of puzzlement and concern. Patterson Hood's songs are thoughtful journal entries informed by his experiences as a Southern man who had left his home for the Pacific Northwest, especially "Ever South" and "What It Means." Mike Cooley, as always the Yang to Hood's Yin, writes and sings with greater grit and Southern swagger, but he delivers some of his smartest and most eloquent work to date with "Surrender Under Protest," "Ramon Casiano," and "Once They Banned Imagine," all superb studies of the flaws of human nature. And while American Band roars less than many of the band's previous works, it still sounds like the Drive-By Truckers, carried by the guitars of Hood and Cooley, Brad Morgan's superb drumming, and Jay Gonzalez's evocative keyboard work. The Drive-By Truckers are too smart to believe they have the answers for America's problems, and American Band doesn't pretend to offer them. But they ask the right sort of questions, and these songs weren't written for the audience to cheer along, but to encourage a debate that the country seriously needs. American Band is an op-ed column with guitars, and it presents a message well worth hearing, both as politics and as music. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 13 février 2011 | Play It Again Sam

The Drive-By Truckers are a band that likes to do things the old-fashioned way. They proudly proclaim that they record their music "on glorious two-inch analog tape," they still think in terms of albums with two (or four) sides, and their sound is firmly rooted in the traditions of Southern rock and the blues. They also hark back to a time when rock bands made an album every year followed by a tour, and if the DBTs haven't quite held firm to that schedule, since they broke through with Southern Rock Opera in 2001, they've managed to release six studio albums, a live CD/DVD, another DVD-only live set, and a collection of rarities and unreleased tracks, all while keeping up a demanding touring schedule. Any band that busy is likely to believe it deserves a rest every once in a while, and in a sense, 2011's Go-Go Boots feels a little bit like a working vacation. The album is notably short on full-blown rockers and sounds scaled back from the three-guitar attack that's been their hallmark, often dominated by acoustic guitars and the muffled but determined report of Brad Morgan's drums. The songs also find the band going back to the well on themes it has visited before -- the man of the Lord with a broad but carefully hidden streak of corruption in The Big To-Do's "The Wig He Made Her Wear" foreshadowed not one but two songs here, "The Fireplace Poker" and the title track, and the damaged ex-cop of "Used to Be a Cop" feels like a cousin to the haunted war veteran of Brighter Than Creation's Dark's "That Man I Shot." But none of this adds up to an album that's at all lazy. The craft of Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley's songwriting is as strong as ever, drawing believable characters and giving them lives that make dramatic sense, and Shonna Tucker just keeps getting better with the graceful and hard-edged "Dancin' Ricky." And if the music on Go-Go Boots is less physical than what the Drive-By Truckers typically deliver, it's emphatic and passionate, with an impressive sense of dynamics and as much soul as these folks have ever summoned in the studio -- they've rocked a lot harder, but they've never cut a more natural and telling groove. There are moments where Go-Go Boots recalls Exile on Main St., another album that makes much out of feel and the way musicians play off one another, and if this isn't as likely to be regarded as a masterpiece, it's also less self-obsessive, and reveals some sides of the Drive-By Truckers the band hasn't captured in the studio before. After ten years of hard work, the DBTs are still learning, still growing, and still feeling out new ideas, and on Go-Go Boots they show that even when they're relaxed, they're still one of America's best bands. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 1 janvier 2008 | New West Records

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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 3 mars 2014 | ATO (UK)

For years, Mike Cooley has been the George Harrison of the Drive-By Truckers, the guy who contributed two or three fine songs to each DBTs album while frontman Patterson Hood penned the bulk of the band's repertoire. That changes with English Oceans, the band's tenth studio album, where Cooley gets co-star status for a change -- he penned six of the album's 13 tunes, and sings lead on Hood's "Til He's Dead or Rises." By accident or design, the increased presence of Cooley's songs gives English Oceans a feel of call and response, as Cooley's smart but plainspoken style faces off against Hood's more artful approach as they both spin tales of characters struggling to make sense of the world around them. While the album opens with a world-class rocker, Cooley's "Shit Shots Count," which could pass for a Dixie-fried outtake from Exile on Main St., for the most part English Oceans finds the Truckers in a thoughtful, low-key mood, with the guitar firepower dialed back a bit and both writers imagining characters whose lives range from the poignant ("Primer Coat," "When He's Gone") to the bitter ("The Part of Him") to the tragic ("Made Up English Oceans," "When Walter Went Crazy"). Subtlety has never been this band's biggest selling point, but on English Oceans the Drive-By Truckers show they can pare back their arrangements and create something more atmospheric without stripping their songs of what makes them powerful; Jay Gonzalez's spectral keyboards add a wealth of detail to "Made Up English Oceans" and "Hanging On," and drummer Brad Morgan and bassist Matt Patton are a rhythm section that can rise to any challenge these songs present. Ten albums and 18 years on from their first show, the Drive-By Truckers are still capable of mixing things up and showing off new sides of their skill set, and that's certainly the case with English Oceans, which shows them making wise use of all their talents -- not just Mike Cooley. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 16 mars 2010 | [PIAS] Recordings

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Rock - Paru le 30 octobre 2015 | ATO Records

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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 20 novembre 2019 | ATO (UK)

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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 14 janvier 2020 | ATO (UK)

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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 13 janvier 2014 | ATO (UK)

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Rock - Paru le 31 octobre 2013 | DBT Recording, Inc

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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 14 novembre 2010 | [PIAS] Recordings

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Drive-By Truckers dans le magazine