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Published: 2016/01/26
by Bill Murphy

Drive-By Truckers
It's Great to Be Alive!

Drive-By Truckers have accumulated a wickedly diverse catalog of hard-rocking music during their 15-plus-years of touring and recording; what’s even more admirable is how they make it all sound so ageless whenever they get on stage. “Lookout Mountain,” a popular track from 2004’s The Dirty South (with a shelf life that goes back to 1990), comes across asa rousing call-to-arms in the leadoff spot on this triple-disc, three-night stand at the legendary Fillmore in San Francisco, with Patterson Hood’s gravelly drawl and low-tuned, Southern gothic-style guitar—the brooding dark to Mike Cooley’s boogie-fueled light—setting the tone. The two play the duality to perfection on the Allmans-like ballad “Mercy Buckets,” one of many vehicles for Hood to wax poetic while Cooley fires off some scorching leads; further on, Cooley drops his own Alabama outlaw twang on the barrelhouse rocker “Shit Shots Count,” channeling his down-home country influences. Fan favorites like “Uncle Frank” and “Sounds Better in the Song” still stand as testaments to the band’s ability to temper boundless energy with worldly grace, and that’s where the rubber meets the road. Sure, Hood and Cooley are getting older, but the same has been said of fine wines—or more appropriately, fine whiskeys.

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