The Drive-By Truckers' 2006 effort A Blessing and a Curse steps back from concept-based narrative approaches and functions as a hard-rocking collection of 11 engrossing individual stories. As always, the band's triple-guitar attack is something to behold, while songwriters Pattersoon Hood, Jason Isbell, and Mike Cooley continue to capture everyday America and romantic matters with equal parts colorful description, emotional candor, and learned wisdom. A Blessing And A Curse is not only a great record, but an important statement delivered honestly and passionately without any sugar coating or details spared. It's a refinement, a honing, and a focusing of what you've always loved about them, and what makes this band one of the best at what they do!
"'To love is to feel pain,' solemnly states Hood during "A World of Hurt," the bare-bones ballad that closes his band's latest studio album. The spoke-sung conclusion--as well as several other adages about emotion, persistence, and perception Hood utters as if reading from a post-suicidal diary entry--are the core themes surrounding 2006's A Blessing and a Curse, a work whose central tenet holds that without tenacious struggle and both good and bad times, life isn't really lived at all. Sonics are simple, present, and alert. When sticks hit drum skins, the beats respond with realistic kickback." - Bob Gendron, The Absolute Sound, April 2006