THE DEAL: Eleventh album from Athens, Ga., sextet channeling the Muscle Shoals shades of country, soul and rock.
THE GOOD: Having three vocalists and songwriters that bring distinct storytelling into the group may create problems for some outfits. But Drive-By Truckers take the tale-weaving prowess of the trio in stride and churn out wonderful records. Prolific to say the least, the band's songs are like reading short stories, novellas even, with verbose descriptions usually visited by screenwriters. Patterson Hood wrote the best song on the album, "Used To Be A Cop," while Mike Cooley strolls right along with the fantastic track "Pulaski." The Neil Youngish rocker, "Everybody Needs Love," penned by Muscle Shoals denizen Eddie Hinton, is a hit-in-waiting. The charms of raggedy guitars, shady characters, tearjerking ballads, alterna-country and roots-rock are all gathered here in 14 songs. There's even an extra song, "I Hear You Hummin'," written by the third scribe, bassist Shonna Tucker, on the vinyl version. The problem? There are two or three songs wanting to dive in, waiting for the slap on the back, but can't seem to get off the fence, unraveling the recording just a shade.
THE BAD: Produced by longtime producer/collaborator David Barbe, Go-Go Boots has a few lackluster numbers that could have been left off the album for a more cohesive, near-perfect record.
THE VERDICT: It may take awhile to sink in, but when it does, the unmistakable writing chops of the Truckers, nurtured with the musical story of the American South, nearly always brightens the day.