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Drive-By Truckers’ 12th studio album and first new LP in more than three years – the longest gap between new DBT albums – The Unraveling was recorded at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, TN by Grammy® Award-winning engineer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price) and longtime DBT producer David Barbe. Co-founding singer/songwriter/guitarists Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood both spent much of the time prior doing battle with deep pools of writer’s block. “How do you put these day to day things we’re all living through into the form of a song that we (much less anybody else) would ever want to listen to?” says Hood. “How do you write about the daily absurdities when you can’t even wrap your head around them in the first place? I think our response was to focus at the core emotional level. More heart and less cerebral perhaps.”
The songs that eventually emerged are among Drive-By Truckers’ most direct and pointedly provocative, tackling the myriad horrors of our new normal through sincere emotion and unbridled heart. Indeed, “Armageddon’s Back in Town” takes a whirlwind joyride through the whiplash of events we collectively deal with each day while the concluding “Awaiting Resurrection” dives headfirst into the despair and pain roiled up by these troubled times.
“The past three-and-a-half years were among the most tumultuous our country has ever seen,” says Hood, “and the duality between the generally positive state of affairs within our band while watching so many things we care about being decimated and destroyed all around us informed the writing of this album to the core.
“While a quick glance might imply that we’re picking up where 2016’s American Band album left off, the differences are as telling as the similarities. If the last one was a warning shot hinting at a coming storm, this one was written in the wreckage and aftermath. I’ve always said that all of our records are political but I’ve also said that ‘politics is personal’. With that in mind, this album is especially personal.”
The remarkable songcraft found on The Unraveling receives much of its musical muscle from the sheer strength of the current Drive-By Truckers line-up, with Hood and Cooley joined by bassist Matt Patton, keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Jay Gonzalez, and drummer Brad Morgan – together, the longest-lasting iteration in the band’s almost 25-year history. The LP also features a number of special guests, including The Shins’ Patti King, violinist/string arranger Kyleen King (Brandi Carlile), and North Mississippi All-Stars’ Cody Dickinson, who contributes electric washboard to the strikingly direct “Babies In Cages.”
Barry says: Having always tread the fine line between good-ol' Americana and more driven, indie-based rock and / or roll, it's good to see DBT maintaining their southern lilt but with a more momentous, stadium pomp to the proceedings. Brilliantly produced and perfectly weighted, this might well be their finest work to date.
A1 Rosemary With A Bible And A Gun
A2 Armageddon’s Back In Town
A3 Slow Ride Argument
A4 Thoughts And Prayers
A5 21st Century USA
B1 Heroin Again
B2 Babies In Cages
B3 Grievance Merchants
B4 Awaiting Resurrection