Patterson Hood

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Its always nice to have a musician that you have grown to love over the years hit a pinnacle so high that you feel the need to stop and tell strangers about it on the streets. Similar to Patterson Hood’s Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance or Phosphorescent’s Muchacho, Southeastern is the work of one of my favorite musicians hitting a pinnacle so high that you’ll soon finding yourself telling strangers about it as well.

One of the first times I encountered Jason Isbell was back during the Decoration Day tour. During that time, DBT would walk on stage with a Costco sized bottle of Jack and proceed to drain it. There was a point late in the evening where we was teetering with only the wall holding him up. Somehow, he stood up straight and nailed a version of Decoration Day that left the crowd speechless. You knew that at time, you were watching someone with a great future ahead of him; if he could keep his shit together.

Keeping his shit together is the central theme of Southeastern. Isbell has met the love of his life in Amanda Shires, is making the best music of his career and most important to him – is sober. The opening track, Cover Me Up, is an absolute stunning song (and one of 2013′s best). The way he combines themes of redemption and love gives me the chills every time I hear it.

The fact that he bookends that song with Relatively Easy which seems to point to a better future is not lost on me and is a nice touch. In between Southeastern is chock full of gems. Traveling Alone has Mrs. Isbell helping out on vocals and more importantly, playing her amazing fiddle. Flying Over Water has Isbell revisiting his Southern roots in the song that would sound the most natural on a DBT album. While Live Oak paints a dark tale in a murder ballad.

The cover of Southeastern is a simple picture of Isbell. Southeastern is a simple album in that there is no bullshit. It is an artist writing amazing songs and baring it all for us to see. If Muchacho is 2013′s #1 album, then Southeastern is 1A.

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Patterson Hood is responsible for this music blog existing. We’ve probably never told the story, but Woody and I met at a business event in Chicago where things like insurance, mortgage, real estate, home security systems, outsourced HR, search engine optimization or similar such bullshit was being discussed. I think we were both wearing slacks. As we were filling up our coffee cups, one of us asked the other what we were into in real life. “I like music” said the other. “What type of music?” asked the other. “Have you ever heard of Drive-By Truckers…”

Have you ever heard of Drive-By Truckers? That became my qualifier for anyone that I met at a party or on an airplane if music entered conversation. I’d ask a stranger, “What type of music do you like?” and they’d reply, “I like everything!” When they asked me, I’d say “Have you heard of a band called Drive-By Truckers?” On one or two occasions I got a “yes” response. I still keep in touch with those people.

So Patterson Hood walking through the doors of Shirk Music + Sound to lay down a HearYa session? Kind of like Justin Beiber walking into an all-girls middle school. Patterson Hood’s side projects have always been worthwhile departures from his core DBT body of work and with each album, he has matured as a solo artist. For me, last year’s Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance  proved that Patterson Hood can firmly stand on his own. It shows that his songwriting isn’t restricted to the southern rock DBT sound and that he can weave in graceful piano ballads and deeply moving (and very personal lyrics) without making the die hard Truckers fans flinch. At the session, Woody asked Patterson about why he decided to use the piano as a centerpiece on Heat Lightning and his response was simple: “Because I have Jay.”

The Downtown Rumblers include the aforementioned Jay Gonzalez and Brad Morgan from DBT, Page and Claire Campbell from an Athens band called Hope For a Golden Summer, and Jacob Morris on cello. The songs performed in session with us are three of my favorites from the album – “Come Back Little Star” was on of my favorites all year. It was co-written by Kelly Hogan in tribute to the tragic loss of their friend and Athens music icon, Vic Chesnutt, who died in 2009. I’ll leave you with the opening lines and you can hear the rest below.

Heaven blue eyes
Those long black lashes
Razor tongue and Southern drawl
Pouring out like molasses
That trail of silver mercury
To show us all where you’ve been
You always have a drink in your hand
But your liver ain’t what it used to be

I’m really not mad
I’m just trying hard to understand
We both had these dreams too long
to let them slip through your hands
I’ve had a drink or two myself to control the sting
This town got blown to tatters
when you traded in your wheels for wings

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Patterson Hood & The Downtown Rumblers Intro

Exclusive: Patterson Hood – Disappear

Exclusive: Patterson Hood – Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance

Exclusive: Patterson Hood – Come Back Little Star

Download the Patterson Hood & The Downtown Rumblers Session as a zip file.

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Roll Tide

by Woody on January 8, 2013

In honor of A.J. McCarron’s super-fine girlfriend Alabama’s thrashing of Notre Dame, here is Alabama’s finest doing Where The Devil Don’t Stay

And if you were like every other person in America, that didn’t go to Notre Dame or has a copy of Rudy on Betamax, and laid the points last night; well then you got some extra coin in your pocket. What better way to spend it than on some good ol’ Alabama boys. Cooley, Patterson and Isbell all have fantastic solo albums out now. Go buy them.

Cooley – The Fool On Every Corner

Patterson – Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance

Isbell – Live From Alabama

Isbell and Patterson’s are on sale for $5. Cooley’s holding out for $9. Buy all three and you’ll still have a little left over for a bottle of Jack. And in related news, our HearYa session with Patterson shall be out shortly.

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Pattersoon Hood of Drive-By Truckers is releasing his third solo album on September 11th. The album started out as a semi-fictional book Hood was writing during a turbulent period of his live in his late twenties. Over time, the book turned itself into introspective songs, as Hood describes:

The songs begin in the period that the book was set in, but don’t end there, as they really just were the impetus for writing about the life I am living now and contrasting it with the troubled times of two decades ago. It is in some ways the most personal album I’ve ever made. There has always been a lot of me in all of the albums we’ve done, but usually semi-disguised as character sketches and stories, but the first person narrative in this one is pretty firmly rooted in autobiography, albeit in two dramatically differing time periods.

Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance features DBT band mates Mike Cooley, Jay Gonzalez, Brad Morgan and John Neff as well as Scott Danbom and Will Johnson of Centro-matic and Kelly Hogan.

The first track we get to preview is “Come Back Little Star.” Pull out the box of Kleenex for this one. It was co-written with Kelly Hogan and inspired as a tribute to the late Vic Chesnutt, an Athens music scene cult hero who suffered from depression and died of an overdose on Christmas Day, 2009.

Tour dates:

July 20 Winston-Salem, NC Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art*
July 21 Camden, NJ XPoNential Music Festival*
July 23 Brooklyn, NY Bell House*
Aug 03 Charleston, SC Pour House**
Aug 16 Lexington, KY Lexington Opera House** w/ Todd Snider
Sep 14 Pinnacle, NC Jomeokee Music & Arts Festival*
Oct 12 Austin, TX ACL FESTIVAL*

*denotes shows with Patterson Hood and the Downtown Rumbers
**denotes Patterson Hood solo shows

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Patterson Hood – Murdering Oscar [Album Review]

June 9, 2009

Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers is set to release his sophomore solo album called Murdering Oscar on June23rd.‚  Killers and Stars, his solo debut, was an acoustic album that sounded like it was recorded in a bathroom. The lo-fi treatment served the album well. It’s a depressing affair that was recorded at a time when [...]

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Patterson Hood set to release new solo album in June.

April 16, 2009

Patterson Hood, leader of the Drive-By Truckers, will release Murdering Oscar (and other love songs) on June 23, 2009 on Ruth St. Records. It’s his second solo album and according the press release, it’s been 15 years in the making. He’s joined on the record with most of his DBT band mates, Don Chambers, Will [...]

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