A Mike Cooley solo album is a treat for Drive-By Truckers fans. Fellow Trucker Patterson Hood has been more prolific and much praised, but Cooley is a fine writer and performer, and this live acoustic collection spotlights his lyrics and the flexibility of his songwriting. Eleven of his Truckers contributions get stripped down and rebuilt with a more intimate feel. Some already acoustic-heavy songs like "Loaded Gun in the Closet" and "Eyes Like Glue" are no-brainers. But the rockers come off just as well. "Shut Up and Get on the Plane" was always reflective, but without the big rock guitars, the story emerges. "Cottonseed" takes on a more sinister edge arranged for banjo, and "Where the Devil Don't Sat" ditches the thump and overdrive and is reborn as a spare, finger-picked country song. Cooley's voice has a natural Willie Nelson twang and the resonance of Johnny Cash. Fool is less a statement and more a reminder of Cooley's talent.
NICK A. ZAINO III » NICK@NICKZAINO.COM
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