There’s no way anyone could’ve known how much more truth could be applied to the title of Drive-By Truckers’ latest record, The Unraveling (ATO), when they visited Union Transfer. But with the current situation in the world, humans have surely unravelled more. The politically charged quintet stormed through new and old tunes with a nimble, awesome energy. Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley stirred a tightly packed crowd with tales of the American gothic while the rest of the crew—Brad Morgan (drums), Matt Patton (bass) and Jay Gonzalez (guitar, keys)—took Philadelphia on a journey from “Made Up English Oceans” to “Angels And Fuselage” with stops at Warren Zevon (“Play It All Night Long”) and the Ramones (“The KKK Took My Baby Away”). So many high points can be had with the Truckers’ rawk, but “Thoughts And Prayers” will stay with us long after turntables turn to dust, leaving a stamp of decisiveness on the nightmare politics for generations to come. And when the clubs start oozing with alcohol and feedback again, Drive-By Truckers will be there, to remind us of who we need to be.
—words and photos by Chris Sikich