Drag the River - You Can't Live This Way (Cover Artwork)

Drag the River

You Can't Live This Way (2008)

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In 2007, Drag the River had an infamous "fall out" at the beginning of the year. At the end of the year, an album was slated for a 2008 release. You Can't Live This Way is the aforementioned album. The band began playing shows again. Perhaps there will be more from the band in 2009, but who really knows. If this is truly the final year of the band being together, You Can't Live This Way is their swan song, and a great one at that.

As far as followup albums go, this is a pretty good followup to 2006's It's Crazy., which is still my favorite album from them. You Can't Live This Way has an excellent combination of different musical styles, and it also comes with smooth transitions from one song to another. There are heartfelt ballads ("Tobacco Fields"), straightforward rockers ("Br00tal"), country-western swinging ("Lost Angel Saloon")...even horn sections are used in the first two songs. There is, of course, the last track that really is just the entire album played all over again (even with alternative takes on songs). This is a trick that Drag the River has done with their albums before.

Chad Price and Jon Snodgrass, the two frontmen of the band, do an excellent job of songwriting, lyrics and arrangements on this album. Price's "Tobacco Fields" is one of the most heartfelt songs in their catalogue. It has the same in delivery and impact on me, as did Gram Parsons' "Hickory Wind." "Tobacco Fields" is just one of the great songs on this album. I truly don't think there is a weak point of the album (but maybe the all-too-short "Pre-Post Party").

This is definitely in my top five of the year. Hopefully this is not the last we hear from these guys.