Drive-By Truckers have announced the release of their 14th studio album, Welcome 2 Club XIII, due via ATO Records on Friday, June 3. Welcome 2 Club XIII is heralded by the premiere of its swinging title track, “Welcome 2 Club XIII,” which pays homage to the Muscle Shoals honky-tonk where founding members Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley got their start.
“There were no cool bars in town and Club XIII was the best we had,” says Hood, referring to the two vocalist/guitarists’ former band, Adam’s House Cat, “but it wasn’t all that good, and our band wasn’t particularly liked there. 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.”
Arriving as Drive-By Truckers enters its 26th year, Welcome 2 Club XIII marks a sharp departure from the trenchant commentary of The Unraveling and The New OK (both released in 2020). Produced by longtime Drive-By Truckers collaborator David Barbe and mainly recorded at his studio in Athens, GA, 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. Featuring background vocals from the likes of Margo Price, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, and Mississippi-bred singer/songwriter Schaefer Llana, Welcome 2 Club XIII was recorded live with most songs cut in one or two takes, fully harnessing Drive-By Truckers’ freewheeling energy. Songs like epic, darkly thrilling “The Driver” and the spirited, horn-blasted “Every Single Storied Flameout” see the band – whose lineup also includes keyboardist/guitarist Jay Gonzalez, bassist Matt Patton, and drummer Brad Morgan – looking 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.
“Cooley and I have been playing together for 37 years now,” Hood says. “That first band might have failed miserably on a commercial level, but I’m really proud of what we did back then. It had a lot to do with who we ended up becoming.”
Welcome 2 Club XIII track list:
- The Driver
- Maria’s Awful Disclosures
- Shake and Pine
- We will never wake you up in the morning
- Welcome 2 Club XIII
- Forged In Hell and Heaven Sent
- Every Single Storied Flameout
- Billy Ringo In The Dark
- Wilder Days