Drive-By Truckers, The Bad Ends, Early James

DBT Brantley Gutierrez
Brantley Gutierrez
KEEP ON TRUCKIN’: Drive-By Truckers keep exploring the duality of the Southern thang Nov. 18.
Saturday November 18, 2023 08:00 PM EST
Cost: $35.50-$45
CRITIC’S PICK: This one-time Athens-based band just keeps getting better. Even though they play here at least once a year, the shows are always different and the Truckers’ Star Bar roots ensure they are welcomed as the local icons of literate Southern rock that they are. Look for a few extra songs from The Dirty South (2004) since it has recently been reissued and expanded. This bill is a particularly strong lineup with both openers delivering their unique versions of Southern blues, folk, country, and indie rock. — Hal Horowitz

From the venue:

On the title track to Welcome 2 Club XIII, Drive-By Truckers pay homage to the Muscle Shoals honky-tonk where founding members Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley got their start: a concrete-floored dive lit like a disco, with the nightly promise of penny beer and truly dubious cover bands. “There were no cool bars in town and Club XIII was the best we had — but it wasn’t all that good, and our band wasn’t particularly liked there,” says Hood, referring to the vocalist/guitarists’ former band Adam’s House Cat. “From time to time the owner would throw us a Wednesday night or let us open for a hair-metal band we were a terrible fit for, and everyone would hang out outside until we were done playing. It wasn’t very funny at the time, but it’s funny to us now.”

The 14th studio album from Drive-By Truckers — whose lineup also includes keyboardist/guitarist Jay Gonzalez, bassist Matt Patton, and drummer Brad Morgan — Welcome 2 Club XIII looks back on their formative years with both deadpan pragmatism and profound tenderness, instilling each song with the kind of lived-in detail that invites bittersweet reminiscence of your own misspent youth.

Produced by longtime Drive-By Truckers collaborator David Barbe and mainly recorded at his studio in Athens, Georgia, Welcome 2 Club XIII took shape over the course of three frenetic days in summer 2021 — a doubly extraordinary feat considering that the band had no prior intentions of making a new album. “We had some shows coming up and decided to get together and practice, since we hadn’t even seen each other in a year and a half because of the pandemic,” Hood recalls. “We started demoing song ideas, and pretty soon we realized we had a whole record. It was all sort of magical.”

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