The paper version of Entertainment Weekly is constrained by the laws of time and space. But not the Music Mix! Well, except for the “time” part. Regardless, in our occasional Extended Play feature we review the CDs there just wasn’t room to include in the magazine. This week: the new one from Drive-By Truckers singer Patterson Hood.
Murdering Oscar (and other love songs)
Rock (Ruth St. Records)
Given their penchant for tales of impoverishment and despair the Drive-By Truckers have often appeared like a band in search of a global economic meltdown. So it doesn’t come as a surprise to find that this fine but frequently downbeat solo album from the southern-rockers’ front man seems of-the-moment, even though it was in large part recorded way back in 2005.
Just in case you didn’t take notice of the title, this collection makes its bleak intentions clear early on. Before the rhythm section even has a chance to make its presence known on opener “Murdering Oscar” the narrator has already stuck a gun in the unfortunate Oscar’s mouth and “watched his brains fly out.” But Hood leavens matters with more upbeat material like the delightful, acoustic, “Grandaddy” and the spare “She’s A Little Randy,” which showcases both the singer-songwriter’s wistful vocals and his sense of humor (“He used to take his hat off like her favorite movie star/ Now it covers up a bald spot (Like her favorite country star).”) Yes, there are times when you miss the songwriting contributions of Hood’s longtime musical sparring partner Mike Cooley. (Guitarist Cooley does help back his band mate as do the rest of the DBTs and Hood’s father David who played bass in the legendary Muscle Shoals studio band The Swampers.) However, the result should keep fans happy until the next new Truckers album, or at least their due-in-September rarities collection The Fine Print. B — Clark Collis
Download This: “She’s A Little Randy”