Limited-edition translucent red 180gram 2LP vinyl.
In 'Southern Rock Opera', the Drive-By Truckers have created a startlingly intelligent work that proudly stands with the best music of their obvious inspiration. Lead trucker Patterson Hood sings the majority of the songs in a torn, ragged, but emotionally charged twangy voice somewhere between Tom Petty and Rod Stewart. These 20 tracks encapsulate a remarkably objective look at what Hood calls "the duality of the South." Rocking with a lean hardness, the savvy lyrical observations never overburden the songs' clenched grip.
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 version of Skynyrd.
With its magnificent songwriting, passionate singing, and ruggedly confident 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. 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. (Hal Horowitz, AllMusic)