As the opener to Club XIII, “The Driver” immediately sets the tone by steering into the hard-edged, honky-tonk origins that inspired the autobiographical record. The seven-minute excursion is packed with screeching guitars and searing distortion, a lumbering low-end, and trace memories from frontman Patterson Hood that come and go like passing views from the passenger seat. Despite the production’s constant churning, the song captures the fleeting wistfulness for a time when life’s journey was seemingly filled with endless, unexplored opportunities.
In a statement, Hood shared: “Around the same era of Club XIII, I spent a lot of time driving around late at night when I couldn’t sleep, listening to music loud and often having a beer or two. Sometimes during those drives I’d have these epiphanies about what to do with my life — like listening to Tim by The Replacements not long after it came out and deciding to drop out of school to try and make this whole band thing work.”
The seminal Minnesota punk band gets several specific shout-outs in the song as Hood name-drops “Here Comes a Regular,” and later considers a reality of different, worse-off outcomes from questionable past experiences with lyrics like, “On our way to see Replacements/ When I hydroplaned but caught the road in time.” It’s a roundabout way toward appreciating the past and present for what they are, and the band couldn’t seem to relish the quest more.
Welcome 2 Club XIII arrives on June 3rd via ATO Records. It has been preceded so far by the title track as well as “Every Single Storied Flameout.” Pre-orders are ongoing.
The Truckers are on the cusp of their European tour, which kicks off in Helsinki, Finland on May 24th. They’ll trek across the continent through June before returning to the US for their second North American tour leg of 2022. Select dates on the US run will be supported by Jerry Joseph, and it’s currently set to wrap with an appearance at Louisville, Kentucky’s Bourbon & Beyond Festival in September. Grab your seats via Ticketmaster.