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Drive-By Truckers 

English Oceans (ATO)

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For a combination of storytelling, rocking out and keeping it fresh, this Southern band may be the most reliable in the world. Originators Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley carry on after 15 years and numerous personnel changes, swapping songs and licks on their handcrafted guitars. Drive-By Truckers is the beaker where Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Replacements and Elmore Leonard meet to infuse sonic literature. "Hearing Jimmy Loud" boisterously limns domestic discord, noting as an afterthought "God must be a lonely man." This sort of adage, like "Memory only shows the promise beauty broke," occurs throughout. Come for the power chords, stay for the art.

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