Few bands manage to put out two albums in a year – and even fewer manage to put out two of the most significant albums of their career in a single year. ‘Tough to let Go‘ comes from the second of the Drive-By Truckers’ albums of 2020 ‘The New OK.‘ Incredibly ‘The New OK’ was going to be a pandemic stop-gap EP gathering together tunes that hadn’t made ‘The Unraveling‘ and then things changed – as Paterson Hood explains has it the second album was the product of “this endless summer of protests, riots, political shenanigans and pandemic horrors.”
And – guess what? The horrors are still there – with “political shenanigans and pandemic horrors” actually ramping up. Imagine that – still ramping up. If only we could easily criticise from a cozy, well run, and under control country. If only. Of the effect all this and more has had on the band Hood explains that “to call these past few months trying would be a dramatic understatement. Our lives are intertwined with our work in ways that give us our best songs and performances. It is a life that has often rewarded us beyond our wildest dreams. Speaking for myself, I don’t have hobbies, I have this thing I do. To be sidelined with a brand new album and have to sit idly while so much that I love and hold dear falls apart before my very eyes has been intense, heartbreaking, anger-provoking and very depressing. It has gone to the very heart of our livelihoods and threatened near everything that we have spent our lives trying to build. Here’s to the hope that we can make 2021 a better year than this one has been.” Well, it’ll maybe take more than hope – but as the Drive-By Truckers suggest it probably starts with letting go of old ways that no longer serve – and embracing that better future.