Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Bottle Rockets: Blue Sky [Sanctuary, 2003]
The Drive-By Truckers having jumped the Bottle Rockets' claim as the social-realist Lynyrd Skynyrd, volunteer producer and neoswamp axeman extraordinaire Warren Haynes avoids a dick-size contest by accentuating their strength--Brian Henneman's Midwestern declarative. Since as border staters they've never defined their roots regionally, Haynes is free to nudge them folk here and rock there. "Lucky Break," about a disabled construction worker who's finally getting his government cheese, sets the tone. And if on one song Henneman enjoys a little wallow in gender-role truisms that have lost their laugh value, the very next track he's got it down: "Came home drunk looking for a fight/She was sober and calm, does that make her right?" A-