Trucking into America, no sugar

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By Levi Wright

levi-wright@uiowa.edu

“Drive-by Truckers” fan-love for singing about real social issues without sugarcoating the truth. The controversial topics the group covers range from Donald Trump becoming president to the Trayvon Martin shooting.

 The group will show off its very different, innovative version of Southern rock at the Englert, 221 E. Washington St., at 7 p.m. Jan. 29.

One of the band’s cofounders, Patterson Hood, said he and the band members are deeply passionate about the topics they sing about, which becomes apparent through listening to the lyrics.

“We write about things that matter to us; there’s a lot of feeling in what we do,” he said.

Listening to the music, one thing that stands out is the bluntness of the lyrics. The band’s lyricists make sure to leave no room for interpretation, something a lot of other songwriters do. Today, it is in vogue to produce highly abstract lyrics on which numerous meanings can be impressed, letting the listeners make of it almost what they will.

Hood said, however, that the gravity of the music’s themes require a greater degree of clarity.

“I think the subject matter calls for it,” he said. “You can feel around the bush and write poetry all day long, but sometimes you just need to come out and say what you feel.”

That is exactly what Drive-by Truckers accomplishes. Its songs argue that point while giving people a different way to hear the arguments. Even if you disagree with Drive-by Truckers, listening to the talented band is still a treat. When talking about the group’s new album, Hood said “more people tuned in this time, because it hit a nerve.”

On its website, the band wrote, “Putting ‘American Band’ right out front is our way of reclaiming the right to define our American identity on our own terms and show that it’s out of love of our country that we draw our inspiration.”

And a truly American band it is. Looking back at the group’s 21 years, one can find roots tracing back both to Georgia and Alabama, and the band members draw on those roots to give consistent and unique performances. No matter what change, whether good or bad, they haven’t quit trying. Their music says they love this country, which explains the hundreds of performances they’ve done.

In their upcoming performance at the Englert, they will play music from the new album along with some songs from their older output. Their 11 albums create a historical timeline of the past 21 years.

“I’ve seen some progress, and right now I’m seeing some regress,” Hood said.

Audience members will be able to see some of the progress the nation has made and what progress the Drive-by Truckers would like to see in the future.

“Hopefully, with our music, enough of us come together to enact some sort of positive change,” Hood said.

Just coming out and showing your support for the Drive-by Truckers is a great help.

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