Music » CD Reviews

The Drive-By Truckers

The Dirty South (New West)


The Drive-By Truckers make no apologies for the South. It's a region steeped in legend, a region of big men and even bigger myths. On The Dirty South, their third album about southern men coming to terms with their pasts, the Truckers survey some of the fables of the reconstruction.

Following the Lynyrd Skynyrd/Neil Young/George Wallace triad of the 2002 album Southern Rock Opera and the death, divorce, and Dixie themes of last year's Decoration Day, The Dirty South grounds itself with local tales -- some tall, some quite real. "The Day John Henry Died" (about the steel-driving man), "Carl Perkins's Cadillac" (about the Sun Records family), and "The Buford Stick" (about redneck sheriff Buford Pusser from the original Walking Tall) are at the center of the story, but a town-destroying tornado, NASA, and the family farm also figure into the Truckers' most tuneful album.

"Ain't nobody gonna stick anything up your ass/If you remember who your friends are," sings Patterson Hood, one of three singing, songwriting, guitar-playing Truckers. And that pretty much sums up The Dirty South and its folklore: The South is your pal, and don't you forget it.

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.