Drive-by Truckers write songs grittier than the rust spots on an old pickup truck. On Go-Go Boots, DBT eschews its trademark distorted guitars and bombastic Southern-rock sound in favor of a rootsier, stripped-down flavor proving those rust spots have little to do with decibels. This ain't your "She-Thinks-My-Tractor's-Sexy" country; this is the real deal.
The Truckers have always transcended the genres affixed to them, however, and this album is no exception. "Used to Be a Cop" puts the band comfortably in '80s era Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers territory. "Everybody Needs Love" takes its fair share of cues from the soul ballads of the '60s, still mixing in enough dobro lines to remind you who you're listening to.
Thematically, the album lives in a world of misfits, where trailer parks and addictions are more common than fair-weather stories of NASCAR and barbecues. "I got scars on my back from the way my daddy raised me," Patterson Hood sings in one song, while confronting unfaithful preachers and the ugliness of age in others. It's not pretty, but when you've got Justin Bieber ruling the airwaves, it's refreshingly believable.
Drive-By Truckers plays the Wilma Tuesday, March 15, at 8:30 PM with Heartless Bastards. $24.