We live in tumultuous times they say and if you’re wondering as I am where the bands who say whats on their political minds are in all of turmoil, where are those who provoke and protest and advocate and sing truth to power, if you’re wondering as I am then do not drive by the Drive-By Truckers.
The Drive-By Truckers' new album American Band, their eleventh, is an uncompromising look at their America, the America of the here and now, of presidential campaigns and gun violence and division and racism and it ain’t pretty.
They voice concern but in a gentle southern mannerly voice, a voice for the front porch, one expects Atticus to step up, hat in hand, to discuss the days leanings late into the evening. They voice concern with songs that are a blend of Lynyrd, Willie, Johnny, Levon, Leon, Earle, Parsons and Springsteen and even the Southern Man’s anathema’s Neil Young, all stuffed under a bridge in Olympia, Washington and dragged out the other side.
If we flipped decades Kurt Cobain would have covered Drive-By Truckers “Ever South” in the Unplugged special, “bust our heads against the future, ever South, bust our heads against the future, ever South.”
American Band is blue collar nudie suits thin at the elbows play like you mean it but don’t be mean when you play it alt-county roots rock. Its political cajoling, its a belief in our better selfs, its white middle-aged Southern men humming Black Lives Matter and this album matters this year if for no other reason than it looks this year right in the eyes in disgust.