Drive-By Truckers Southern Rock Opera

In what is to be destined as the Quadrophenia of the South, Southern Rock Opera takes every myth you've ever heard about "the South," mixed in with some truth, and paints an epic portrait on two CDs. The story is told simplistically in a middle-class thinking man's manner - someone wanting to "get out" and live the existential dream of being in a rock band, due to the inspiring success of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Lots of Southern musical folklore is covered and explained here, including the supposed feud between Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zandt and Neil Young. They also give a rundown of life in the South, from the working class blues and drugs to the comparisons between the distinct characters of Southern counties. The tone of the entire album is a little doom-laden, but given the circumstances told in the story, why wouldn't it be? And musically, the blood sweat, tears and death bleed through the raw performances and recording, which, yes, sounds somewhat like Lynyrd Skynyrd. This is sonic struggle at its best. (Lost Highway)