Drive-By Truckers have always been a band that defies convention. Their new cut, “Surrender Under Protest” from their 11th studio release ‘American Band’ (ATO Records), proves that their not about to soften anytime soon.
The Georgia-by-way-of-Alabama band has had a revolving number of extraordinary personal over their 20 years. Through it all main songwriters Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley have held mirrors to Southern life in ways that asks narrative questions while also honoring stylistic traditions.
“Surrender Under Protest” is a Cooley-penned first single from the record. A blast of guitar intros a song for these times, bracing in it’s directness confronting our growing cultural divisions.
Or as Hood describes the approach to ‘American Band’ : “This time out, there are no such (narrative) diversions as these songs are mostly set front and center in the current political arena with songs dealing with our racial and cultural divisions, gun violence, mass shootings and political assholery. Once again, there is a nearly even split between the songs of Cooley and myself, with both of us bringing in songs that seem to almost imply a conversation between us about our current place in time.
“American Band” is a rock and roll call to arms as well as a musical reset button for our band and the country we live in. Most of all, we look at it as the beginnings of some conversations that we, as a people very much need to begin having if we ever hope to break through the divisions that are threatening to tear us apart.”
The motivation to make music that matters is a natural one in roots-leaning music. But not everyone can strike a Woody Guthrie tone. There’s a risk of partisan platitudes ( think “Jerusalem ” era Steve Earle) instead of populist poetry ( think pre- ‘Jerusalem’ era Steve Earle.) it’s a subtle balance the “Surrender Under Protest” struggles to maintain.
“American Band” not only marks a change in tone for the The Drive-By Truckers. The band is using a photograph for the cover, an American flag at half-staff, instead of an illustration (mostly handled by the Southern-Gothic imagery of Wes Freed.)
The Drive-By Truckers premiered the new single with NPR.
‘American Band’ pre-order options are here Listen to “Surrender Under Protest” and check out the band’s upcoming tour dates are listed below.
Drive-By Truckers Tour Dates:
13 — New York, N.Y. @ Lowdown Hudson Music Fest
17 — Alta, Wyo. @ Grand Targhee Festival
20 — Morrison, Colo. @ Red Rocks Amphitheater
27 — Lexington, Ky. @ MoonTower Music Fest
16 — Toronto, Ontario @ TURF 2016
17 — Fredericton, Neb. @Canada Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival
23 — Kansas City, Mont. @ Crossroads
24 — Minneapolis, Minn. @ First Avenue
25 — Sioux Falls, S.D. @ The District
28 — Missoula, Mont. @ The Wilma
29 — Seattle, Wash. @ Showbox at the Market
30 — Portland, Ore. @ Wonder Ballroom
1 — Portland Ore. @ Wonder Ballroom
2 — Vancouver, British Columbia @ Rickshaw Theater
5 — Sacramento, Calif. @ Ace of Spades
6-7 — San Francisco, Calif. @ The Fillmore
8 — Lake Tahoe, Nev. @ Montbleau Resort Casino
11-12 — Los Angeles Calif. @ Teragram Ballroom
13 — Solana Beach, Calif. @ Belly Up Tavern
14 — San Luis Obispo, Calif. @ The Fremont
15 — Scottsdale, Ariz. @ Livewire