The Big To-Do

  • Record Label: ATO
  • Release Date: Mar 16, 2010

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Uncut
    The Big To-Do, it's pleasing to report, rocks as hard and loud as anything they've previously done. [Apr 2010, p.78]
  2. The Big To-Do features some of the band's most evocative chunks of misery-detailing to date.
  3. While the portions are smaller on The Big To-Do, they’re just as satisfying.
  4. The Big To-Do is a subtle but genuine step forward from 2008's Brighter Than Creation's Dark, but while that album dug deep into the darker undercurrents of its songs, The Big To-Do resembles Bruce Springsteen's The River in that its stories of folks under punishing circumstances are married to music that tries to find some sort of grace and honor in the struggle without dulling the lyrical impact.
  5. The band still has the muscle to match its mileage.
  6. A collection of unconnected-though certainly related-songs that traverse all sorts of Southern terrain and situations. The group's songwriting trio (mainly Patterson Hood) offers the usual array of potent guitar riffs, stomping hard rock and vivid lyricism.
  7. While The Big To-Do won’t be known for its gambles, its stellar collection of memorable rockers make it a great addition to the band’s already impressive catalog.
  8. Under The Radar
    One of the first great rock albums of 2010, The Big To-Do is archetypal DBT. [Winter 2010, p.70]
  9. Once again, the Truckers conjure up satisfying and cinematic songs with the greatest of ease.
  10. As on past DBT albums, Hood occasionally cedes lead-vocal duties to one of his bandmates, which helps stave off the bar-band blahs that can threaten this kind of material.
  11. Hood’s contributions dominate To-Do; of the thirteen songs, bassist Shonna Tucker gets two, and even after his jaw dropping win streak on 2008’s excellent Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, Mike Cooley is only allotted three. But he still comes off as the crafty Southern gentleman with all of the best one-liners.
  12. The Truckers demonstrated with 2008's Brighter Than Creation's Dark that they don't need non-stop yuks and grotesqueries to reach greatness, but the best moments of The Big To-Do nonetheless offer tantalizing proof that these guys still possess fascinatingly warped minds when they feel like showing 'em off.
  13. 70
    The old comedy adage goes that if it bends, it's funny, but if it breaks, it's not. Tell that to Drive-By Truckers, who break everything in sight yet still strike tragicomic gold every time. The Big To-Do, their eighth full-length, features another cast of walking-dead survivors struggling with their vices in a Faulknerian landscape of rocked-up desperation.
  14. Never have Patterson Hood’s five-piece sounded quite so cranky and furiously righteous as they do on this terrific, ear-splitting sprawl of shit-kicking country boogie.
  15. The variations will be more palpable to longtime fans--a bit more chunky, melodic rock, a little less alt-country--than to anyone just discovering this rousing band.
  16. The Big To-Do suffers from the opposite problem, with its workmanlike consistency belying its lack of truly astonishing highs.
  17. Per usual there's no flash whatsoever--just seasoned professionals delivering doggedly tuneful, meticulously detailed vignettes that are part Lynyrd Skynyrd and part Raymond Carver.
  18. Even though this is a relatively concise Truckers record, it does still have a little flab around the midriff.
  19. The rest is more of what fans have come to expect: entertaining stories told with heart and Southern rock brawn. For them, each DBT release is a Big To-Do.
  20. Filter
    The Big To-Do's melodies may be workman-like at times, but flair was always for the flame-outs. [Winter 2010, p.96]
  21. Musically, the DBTs manage a decent range--from big, squalling rockers to teary, lap-steel balladry--albeit without throwing any great surprises. Same old story, to some extent, but one worth hearing again.
  22. The first four tracks of new album The Big To-Do are a solid continuation of the Truckers’ recent winning streak....But just as it seems clear we’ve got another rough-edged diamond on our hands, the album begins to wander at its mid-point.
  23. Mojo
    Hood's vision for the band has always been cinematic--never more so than here, in fact--but by mid-album tracks such as "Get Downtown" and "After The Scene Dies," things are becoming sketchy.
  24. Q Magazine
    The Big To-Do is the familiar mix of big guitars and off-kilter storytelling. [Apr 2010, p.120]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jul 15, 2011
    Probably their most accessible album in terms of catchy songs (maybe I'm wrong). There appears to be something on here for everyone. TheProbably their most accessible album in terms of catchy songs (maybe I'm wrong). There appears to be something on here for everyone. The guitars crunch like their rockier records like a ten minute Crazy Horse jam, but in respectful restraint. Patterson aims big on this one, with partner in crime Mike Cooley paving the usual territory. His "Birthday Boy" might be the album highlight. Shawna Tucker's contributions are well placed too ("You've Got Another") and Hood keeps it familiar with his direction ("The Wig He Made Her Wear"). Not mellow like their previous effort (Brighter Than Creation's Dark) or the next one after (Go-Go Boots). If you're a fan of the band, you'll enjoy the album. Nothing groundbreaking, but worth every penny. Full Review »
  2. May 13, 2011
    The Drive-By Truckers can write some good Southern rock riffs, but this album felt less inspired than Brighter than Creation's Dark or Go-GoThe Drive-By Truckers can write some good Southern rock riffs, but this album felt less inspired than Brighter than Creation's Dark or Go-Go Boots. There are some interesting songs on here ("Birthday Boy", "This F****ng Job", "The Fourth Night of My Drinking"), but not having a defined concept seems to have zapped the music of its cohesiveness. Full Review »