The Drive-By Truckers' path to becoming one of the best rock bands of the new century was paved the old-fashioned way: though lots and lots of touring.

But unlike so many other great live acts, the Truckers have also made some great records since their debut LP, Gangstabilly, in 1998, as you'll see in our below list of Drive-By Truckers Albums Ranked Worst to Best.

The band formed in Athens, Ga., after a series of other groups led by the Truckers' two main singers, songwriters and guitarists, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, went nowhere. Their first two albums are spotty but contain traces of all the things that would spark the Truckers on 2001's great Southern Rock Opera.

With that double LP, the band tied together a theme rooted in Lynyrd Skynyrd, that '70s group's supposed feud with Neil Young, Alabama governor George Wallace and Hood and Cooley's love-hate relationship with Alabama, where they both came from, with a triple-guitar attack of Southern rock laced with a sense of music history.

It was a slow but steady rise through the decade, as the Truckers released similar sounding and themed albums, all the while touring nonstop and going through their share of members over the years, including Jason Isbell, who has since won several Grammys and widespread acclaim as a solo artist.

They've remained within the borders of Southern rock, alt-country and various forms of country and rock 'n' roll since then, with few detours along the way. They've gotten more aggressive in their politics (2016's American Band ranks as one of the best protest albums of the modern age) not exactly a huge leap for a band that's confronted its region's ugly racism from the start. They've turned into one of the most dependable live groups.

And they've kept some old rock 'n' roll traditions alive, as you'll see in our list of Drive-By Truckers Albums Ranked Worst to Best.

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