DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS – The Unraveling (ATO – 0882388515)

UnravelingReleased on the 31st January, The Unraveling is Drive-By Truckers first new album in three and a half years. The delay possibly caused by the engine room writing team of Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood reaching a piston breaking writers block, much like gears coming of the cogs of the 21st Century American Dream, which the album embodies. Eventually though, the songs did come to create an especially personal album for both Hood and Cooley, deeply political, born out of the news of church and school shootings, racial violence, suicides, overdoses and border violence.

Hood broke the duck with ‘21st Century USA’ which sounds like it should fit in the middle of a darker, blood red version of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon album. This then opened the create flood gates for the rest of Hood’s contribution to the album, namely ‘Armageddon’s Back In Town’, ‘Rosemary With A Bible And Gun’, ‘Thoughts And Prayers’, ‘Heroin Again’, ‘Babies In Cages’ and ‘Awaiting Resurrection’. Cooley pens two songs, ‘Grievance Merchants’ and ‘Slow Ride Argument’.

The Unraveling was recorded in Memphis, Tennessee at Sam Phillips Recording Service, the place that discovered Rock and Roll and brought the world records by the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Ike Turner, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, and of course Elvis Presley. The legendary sound and spirit of the place has infused itself into DBT’s latest release, with most tracks more or less cut live. The first track on the album ‘Rosemary With A Bible And A Gun’ is a great example of this, as a tip of the hat from Hood in the form of a love song to that great city on the banks of the Mississippi, interlaced with the brutality that Hood and Cooley experienced there in 1991.

Darren Beech

Artists’ website:

‘Thoughts And Prayers’ – live and acoustic: