Drive-By Truckers - American Band - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Drive-By Truckers - American Band

by Rob Taylor Rating:8 Release Date:2016-09-30

Drive-By Truckers, despite perceptions of their name and their southern origins, were never the good old boys or rednecks that a least some of their fans believe in the stridently proud South. Hence the blowback from fans who believe that new songs about the lowering of the confederacy flag in the wake of the massacre at Charleston Church, or songs about black youths and adults shot down in nefarious circumstances, or songs about the excesses of the Republican Convention, are an abandonment of their southern roots. 

Its all here on American Band, the first time Drive-By-Truckers have tackled issues touching on the lives of Americans on a federal scale. Once known for homespun lyrics such as these: “My brother was the first born got ten fingers and ten toes / and it’s a damn good thing cause he needs all twenty to keep the cupboard door closed”, now the band cannot ignore the current trend towards a new conservatism at both a political and social level, one where even the would be President of the United States engages in good old fashioned racial stereotyping, misogyny and social irresponsibility. 

There are not many vocalists in the universe cooler than Mike Cooley, all drawly swagger and bar-room table authority.  Coupled with the vocals of Patterson Hood, Drive-By Truckers has some awesome firepower up front. Remember also that this used to be Jason Isbell’s band, so no wonder he was squeezed out, as the band already had two vocalists and songwriters of some magnitude.

American Band again uses rhythm and blues electrified with hard southern rock. Never far divorced from the country foundations of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the DBT’s gutsier compositions put them more in the company of Slobberbone or Uncle Tupelo but with a swagger like the Rolling Stones album, Some Girls. 

The first time the band has not used a gonzo painting from Wes Freed on an album cover, the lowered American flag is a reflection of discontent. You can be assured that the music hasn't suffered as a result. 


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