English Oceans by Drive By Truckers (Album of the Week)

drive-by-truckers-english-oceans-500x500Artist: Drive By Truckers

Year: 2014

Details: 13 songs, 1 hour 1 minute

Who’s Choice: Gone Mild

Hell yeah, Drive By Truckers! You with your real honest to goodness drums and cymbals that you bang on. Your twangy, finger-picking guitars, blaring horns, and honky tonk piano. Your lean into the microphone ebullient harmonies. All of this music making, and you add in stories of people with all sorts of proclivities – whether it be drinking or tv watching or tanning or dirty politicking. You take time to tell your stories that are full of wondrous turns of phrases. Goodness gracious, I love you.

English Oceans was Dan’s pick. I think he may have chosen this one because of the stomping I gave him last week when we went at it over Damien Jurado. If his way of making up is to provide me with a week of listening to Drive By Truckers, we may need to have a blog disagreement more often. We both agree that this one is a winner.

In my opinion, there is nothing to fault about this album. This is my kind of southern rock. Each of the thirteen songs is well over three minutes long, and they hold onto you through the listen. You want to hear the story, and you want to experience the music that goes along with it. They provide the package deal.

For this album, the song writing and performing is shared equally by Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley. Mike Cooley seems to channel Willie Nelson on both Natural Light and First Day of Autumn. His writing tends to be much more obtuse and poetic than Patterson’s. While I am not quite sure what Cooley means by: “The nurture and the admonition of your kind / the rules of only strong survive / Cross shaped swimming pools, down in the blood and lifted up / forever seeking favor from the light,” Patterson’s lyrics are pretty clear: “She had a tanning habit / she’s like a talking leather couch / warm between the cushions where she hid whatever treasure fell out / said she’d only holler when she stood as much as she could stand / Jimmy’s ego can take it baby go and fake it loud as you can.”

There is a mix of banging and mellowness. The opener, “Shit Shots Counts” is probably the rockingest, and a classic for some memorable lines. Do yourself a favor and listen to this one. Pay attention. It’s going to make you laugh.


At the other end of the spectrum is Grand Canyon – a memorial to their long-time merchandise man, Craig Lieske, who died suddenly of a heart attack in January. The whole album is dedicated to him, but this one is personal and lovely. The last line of this song is also the last line of the album: “in my dreams I’ll still see him flying through a western sky ; I’ll think about Grand Canyon and I’ll lift my glass and smile.”  This whole album makes me smile. Thanks for the pick, Dan.

Next up: Pharrell William G I R L.


One thought on “English Oceans by Drive By Truckers (Album of the Week)

  1. Pingback: English Oceans, by the Drive-By Truckers (Album of the Week) « Gone Mild

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