Music » CD Reviews

Drive-By Truckers

Brighter Than Creation's Dark (New West)



Fresh off a gig as soul-siren Bettye LaVette's backing band last year, kick-ass southern rockers the Drive-By Truckers went into the studio with veteran keyboardist Spooner Oldham. The result is one of their best albums, Brighter Than Creation's Dark, which gains a degree of gravitas from Oldham's subtle but enormous presence. He adds texture and color throughout the 19 impeccably crafted tunes, instilling them with a timelessness that's been his calling card since the '60s (he's played with everyone from Bob Dylan to Aretha Franklin).

It helps that singer-songwriter-guitarists Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley both check in with songs that rank among their finest. Even bassist Shonna Tucker — stepping in for her singing-songwriting ex-husband, Jason Isbell, who left the band in 2007 to pursue a solo career — contributes a couple of decent tracks, including a terrific aching country ballad, "I'm Sorry Huston." But it's the band's two frontmen who really make Brighter shine — particularly Hood's contemplative "Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife" and Cooley's wistful bluegrass tune, "Perfect Timing." Like last year's relatively placid tour sets, Brighter Than Creation's Dark shows a quieter, more cautious Truckers at play. They still rock like a distilled Skynyrd when they need to, but their hard-earned wisdom burrows deep into the most poignant album of their dozen-year career.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.