WELCOME 2 CLUB XIII
After a run of albums that painted a perceptive picture of modern America and the ramifications of its recent political history, Drive-By Truckers switch the focus to their own formative years as young men seeking adventure and taking tentative steps towards rock ‘n’ roll dreams.
Club XIII was a Muscle Shoals honky tonk where Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley would hang out and it provides the figurative four walls in which these songs reside. This is album number 14 for the band and the DNA of their Southern rock and alt-country is still firmly intact. Other than the inclusion of Margo Price, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, and Schaefer Llana on backing vocals, the band do what they do best, serve Hood and Cooley’s songs with swagger, grit and grace. The highlights include Hood’s ‘The Driver’ and the heavy swinging and catchy title track, and Cooley’s exceptional ‘Every Single Storied Flameout’ which chronicles wasted lives and the empty reward of the mythical rock star.
In a sense this album feels like a palate cleanser – personal songs devoid of the politics and characters that so often populate DBT songs. That doesn’t make it in inconsequential, instead it’s a fine musical memoir of the band’s shared and formative experiences – both the good and the bad.