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Drive-By Truckers headlines two nights at Tipitina's 

A two-night stand from an American Band

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Photo by Danny Clinch

It all started with a border: the blurred line between Southern rock and rock opera, political songs and songs about the body politic — real bodies like "Ramon Casiano," a Mexican teen murdered in 1931 by future National Rifle Association right-wing-leader Harlon Carter, who spring back to life off Drive-By Truckers' lyric sheets. Forty years after Grand Funk Railroad's "We're an American Band" declaration, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley staked a new claim to the brand with a 2016 release that grew more timely and timeless as the fated political year grew grayer. Hood's reaction to the reaction to American Band (ATO) is amusing: "I always felt there was a political aspect to our writing," he told the Houston Press. "We even wrote about George W. Bush — who now seems quaint and like he almost has indie cred today with what we're dealing with!" It didn't hurt that the messages are married to tracks that play like classics on first spin, from the rallying cries of "Darkened Flags on the Cusp of Dawn" and "Guns of Umpqua" to the somber coda of "Once They Banned Imagine" and "Baggage." Here the preeminent American Band plays two with Hiss Golden Messenger (aka Durham, North Carolina's M.C. Taylor), whose 2016 Merge breakthrough Heart Like a Levee sounds like the first of many to come. Tickets $26 in advance, $31 day of show, $48 two-day pass.

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