The album was recorded at the historic RCA Studio A with Americana super-producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson). Volunteer marks the band's sixth studio effort and also coincides with their 20th anniversary.
The album is the band's first since 2004 to feature electric guitar, and also enlists the pedal steel talents of Joe Jackson Andrews. Themes explored on the album include the plight of refugees ("A World Away") and the complicated legacy of Southern history ("Look Away").
The band's previous album, 2014's Remedy, won the Best Folk Album Grammy Award in 2015.