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Album Review: Drive-By Truckers - 'Welcome 2 Club XIII'

Updated: May 3, 2023

Alt Country stars Drive-By Truckers are back with their fourteenth studio album Welcome 2 Club XIII. This album takes a nostalgic look back at the band's formative years, playing clubs where they may not have been the best fit , where the crowds were just not into it. Patterson Hood noted in a press release “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". Fourteen albums in and being one of the best in the business at their craft, it's easy to say "Who's laughing now?".

Hood noted that the band originally had no intentions of making a new record. Rather they just had not seen one another since the start of the pandemic and wanted to get together for some sessions. What was first demos turned into an album. And what an album it is. We get some typical political fire from the band in "Maria's Awful Disclosure", which draws connections between early anti-immigrant propaganda and today's conspiracy theories such as QAnon.

The band also tackles themes of their formative years in honky-tonks playing, particularly on the album's title track. That track, "Welcome 2 Club XIII" peaks in an almost anti-nostalgic crescendo lyrically where the band sings "Our glory days did kinda suck". This is a Drive-By Truckers album, you know they're bringing it thematically and lyrically. But what about the music? The band continues to capture their vintage alt-country sound that incorporates the right amount of roots rock into, with just a speck of twang. Simply put, Drive-By Truckers continue to put out great records and prove that they are among the best in alt-country. If you want an album full of songs with meaning, heart, and great music, you can do no wrong with this one.

Rating - 5/5

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