The Big To-Do is the first DBT release of 2010. It features the usual three-way split of songs between Patterson, Cooley and Shonna. I think Cooley comes out on top again, but much like The Beatles, it's choose your own adventure time when it comes to favoritism in the Drive By Truckers franchise. Birthday Boy is my pick for the Cooley high point, but the quiet closer Eyes Like Glue is another strong contender.
As far as Patterson, he can still paint a picture like no other, but there are a few moments on The Big To-Do where his vocals gets uncomfortably Tom Petty for these ears. Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge Tom Petty fan, but I don't know how much I want to hear Patterson sing like him. But maybe that's just me. It'll be interesting to see how things go when DBT and Tom Petty tour together this summer. That small niggle aside, he and Shonna more than hold their own here, and record number ten marks another great release from Drive By Truckers. They are indisputably up there with Lucero and The Hold Steady as the best American bands out there. I'm excited to hear record number eleven this Summer. While you're waiting, look out for the Eddie Hinton 7", a song on the new John Prine tribute and the new documentary The Secret To A Happy Ending (now in limited theatrical release).