Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Drive-By Truckers: Welcome 2 Club XIII [ATO, 2022]
Set to tour Europe after their spell in virtual quarantine, they holed up in an Athens studio and recorded seven of these nine mostly excellent if less than far-ranging songs all in a flurry. For Patterson Hood there's kind of a concept, not ordinarily one with much juice in it: the vicissitudes and occasional delights of the touring life--safe driving tips, drug casualties on both sides of eternity, success settling into something more like survival, and a title number in which Foghat tribute bands and local miscreants covering "People Who Died" enliven Muscle Shoals's only punk club. And for Inspirational Verse there's this Mike Cooley stanza: "All those well-intentioned lies/That I myself romanticized/Believably enough to pass as love songs/With more than one man on one knee/It never stops amazing me/How easily the heart hears what it wants to." A-