Drive-By Truckers, Henry Clay People

Generally speaking, whiskey-swilling, dark-alley-dealing Southern rock doesn't fit the typical musical storyteller definition. Unless one is discussing the Drive-By Truckers, that is.

Sprouting from the scorched, sweat-soaked soil that spawned their long-departed heroes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Truckers' Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley and the rest of the crew have never fallen to the notion that Southern rock is meant for Confederate flag-waving hillbillies and Busch Light commercials.

Over the course of the last decade in particular, DBT have taken their role of Southern rock storytellers to new and dramatic depths: Murder, familial binds, hypocrisy, small-town politics and ghostly skeletons spit blood into the veins of each DBT tune. Such ingredients enable the songs to pulsate with a rhythm that connects listener and orator, unlike many regional compatriots that have come before them.

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Kelly Dearmore