Album of the Week: Drive-By Truckers, 'American Band'


Drive-By Truckers
Drive-By Truckers - American Band (Courtesy of ATO Records)

The Drive-By Truckers are an outspoken Southern band with progressive ideas, and with this record, they show they're not afraid to to let you know their feelings about inequality, racism, gun violence and police brutality. The new album, American Band, is being called their most political album to date; it's timely and most certainly a protest record.

The Truckers' main songwriters, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, have channeled their frustration with the social and political climate of 2016 and it turned it into an album full of songs that take an honest and meaningful look at a divided country. I imagine as a songwriter, you can choose a couple different approaches to the current situation in this country: either write a feel-good rock record as a distraction; or dive in head-first and be honest about your views on politics and human rights, using your voice to comment on your values. The Drive-By Truckers have chosen the latter; the lyrics are very straightforward as they use this record as an outlet to tell you they're pissed off about the current state of affairs, as songs like "Surrender Under Protest" and "What It Means" illustrate.

During a recent in-studio performance and interview at The Current, both Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley expressed how, as Southerners, they don't identify with the voice of the Trump-voters in their neck of the woods. Patterson Hood told The Current, "When you think about it, if you look at our band, just on a purely demographic scale, we basically look like the Trump-voter demographic: I am a white, middle-aged, Southern male, college dropout, but they're not speaking for me."

This is not the first time the Drive-By Truckers have taken a stand or expressed their left-leaning political views. But because the record feels so timely and in the moment, I think they are going to make a huge impact with the album's lyrical content and its somber tone.

Just look at the album's cover: it's an American flag at half-mast. That's a pretty powerful image to illustrate the tone of the new Drive-By Truckers album, American Band.

Audience ratings for this album

Among The Current's listeners who submitted a rating for this album, 93 percent gave the album 5 out of 5 stars. Poll closed at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7.
American Band ratings summary


Drive-By Truckers - official site

Related Stories

  • Drive-By Truckers perform in The Current studio 'American Band', the new album from Drive-By Truckers, comes out Sept. 30, and is being hailed as the band's most explicitly political record to date. 'Every time I turn on the news or look at my phone, some other just horrendous thing has happened, and often it's so senseless,' says the band's Patterson Hood. Listen to new songs from Drive-By Truckers and to their interview with Sean McPherson.
  • Drive-By Truckers perform in The Current's studio In town for a double-bill show with Blitzen Trapper, Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers stopped in to The Current's studio to play some songs off their new album, 'English Oceans', and to chat with The Current's Bill DeVille.
  • Drive-by Truckers - in studio With three singers and three guitarists, this Athens, Georgia-based band, the Drive-by Truckers are run as a democracy.

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