Danny Clinch Photo / The Drive-By Truckers are, from left, Matt Patton, Brad Morgan, Jay Gonzalez, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley.

Drive-By Truckers band has always been outspoken, telling a distinctly American story backed by ambitious sound and a social conscience.

Founded in 1996 by singer/songwriter/guitarists Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood, the band has delivered 11 albums; among them, "The Big To-Do," which reached No. 1 on the Indie albums chart.

But with 2016's "American Band," they made their most explicitly political album. A powerful, provocative work, the album is the sound of a true Southern American band speaking on matters that matter.

DBT addresses race, income inequality, the NRA, deregulation, police brutality, Islamophobia, suicides and opioid abuse.

If you go

* What: Drive-By Truckers

* Where: Walker Theatre inside Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave.

* When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19

* Admission: $30 and $40

* For more information: 423-757-5580

"I don't want there to be any doubt as to which side of this discussion we fall on," Hood says. "I don't want there to be any misunderstanding of where we stand. If you don't like it, you can leave. It's OK. We're not trying to be everybody's favorite band, we're going to be who we are and do what we do and anyone who's with us, we'd love to have them join in."

"I'm sure there will be people saying 'I wish they'd keep the politics out of it,'" Cooley says of "American Band."

"But one of the characteristics among the people and institutions we are taking to task in these songs is their self-appointed status as the exclusive authority on what 'American' is — what is American enough and who the real Americans are. 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 country that we draw our inspiration," he says.

DBT performs Thursday, Sept. 19, at Walker Theatre inside Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave.


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