Hear Drive-By Truckers' Searching 'What It Means'

Politically-charged track appears on Southern rockers' latest album 'American Band,' due in September

Patterson Hood doesn't pull any punches in "What It Means," a track from the Drive-By Truckers' forthcoming album American Band. The Southern rock outfit has never exactly shied away from political topics in its 20 years of existence, having discussed segregationist governors and class disparity, but here the Alabama-born songwriter comments on the violence inflicted on African American citizens over the last couple years.

"If you say it wasn't racial when they shot him in his tracks, well I guess it means that you ain't black," Hood sings in his thick Alabama drawl, a reference to a staggering amount of recent events. With insistent strums of acoustic guitar carrying the tune forward and shades of organ and electric guitar coloring the edges, Hood describes our inability (and unwillingness, in some cases) to process the injustice against our fellow men and women, and the blinding effects of white privilege. "Don't look to me for answers because I don't know what it means," he adds near the end.

"'What It Means'" is a song I wrote a couple of years ago protesting the Ferguson decision and the Trayvon Martin killing," explains Hood. "Unfortunately, the song is still timely today. I hope and pray that one day it won't be."

American Band comes out September 30th via ATO Records. Drive-By Truckers will launch their North American tour August 19th with a show at Belly Up in Aspen, Colorado, and will be on tour through the 2016 election with guests including Yonder Mountain String Band in August and September, Lydia Loveless in September and October and Kyle Craft in November.

August 19 - Aspen, CO - Belly Up

August 20 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheater

August 27 - Lexington, KY - Moontower Music Festival

September 16 - Toronto, ON - Toronto Urban Roots Festival

September 17 - Fredericton, NB - Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival

September 23 - Kansas City, MO - Crossroads

September 24 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue

September 25 - Sioux Falls, SD - The District

September 28 - Missoula, MT - The Wilma

September 29 - Seattle, WA - Showbox at The Market

September 30 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom

October 1 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom

October 2 - Vancouver, BC - Rickshaw Theater

October 5 - Sacramento, CA - Ace of Spades

October 6-7 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore

October 8 - Lake Tahoe, CA - Montbleau Resort Casino

October 11-12 - Los Angeles, CA - Teragram Ballroom

October 13 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern

October 14 - San Luis Obispo, CA - Fremont Theater

October 15 - Scottsdale, AZ - Livewire

November 3 - Knoxville, TN - The Mill & Mine

November 4-5 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel

November 6 - Louisville, KY - Headliners Music Hall

November 9 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer

November 10-11 - Richmond, VA - The National

November 12 - Charlotte, NC - The Fillmore

November 13 - Charleston, SC - Charleston Music Hall

November 15 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Culture Room

November 16 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Theatre

November 18 - Tuscaloosa, AL - Druid City Music Hall

November 19 - Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle