Patterson Hood displays the essence of a man who has lived for centuries. His stories speak of heartache, pain and real living. Hood is a musician and songwriter in the band Drive-By Truckers as well as being a solo artist. Initially, he is from Muscle Shoals, Ala., and his southern heart bellows through every chime and rhythm he sings. There is no lack of feeling or emotion in his music. He now resides on the West Coast and tours the country with his band, Drive-By Truckers, who perform at Washington’s in Fort Collins for two nights on Oct. 6 -7.
The current tour is showcasing the album, American Band, released in 2016. The album is one of the most explicitly, politically charged works in their repertoire. Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley founded the band in 1996 and are celebrating two decades of musicianship with bassist Matt Patton, keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Jay Gonzalez, and drummer Brad Morgan. The Truckers songs bellow the aches of the world in every single lyric.
They are recording a new album at Sam Phillips recordings in Memphis, Tenn. Will it be as political and push the same boundaries as American Band? Patterson says, “We’re kind of hoping the next record can build on what we’ve just done. The time we are in is too mind-blowing to not address at the same time it’s kind of a challenge addressing it to because it’s so mind-blowing. Articulating it is hard. That’s kind of been the struggle as we have been writing this. We’re not necessarily trying to be topical or political. It is a personal record we are trying to make, but it’s all wrapped up together. You know, it’s hard to separate it. The political aspects have personal implications for all of us. We wake up and pick up our phone, and it’s like holy fucking shit! I wish I were Monty Python. Maybe that’s what we need is more Mighty Python.”
Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley are the main songwriters of the Truckers. Cooley and Hood have been playing together for 33 years, and they have had the Truckers for 22 years. Hood explains the way they create music, “We write extremely different. Our methods and our way of doing it couldn’t be more different, which is kind of part of the beauty when it all works.” Hood and Cooley are on the spur of a release from their early years, Town Burned Down, pre-Truckers, that is a bit of a rediscovery.
“We are releasing an album Cooley and I made 27 years ago before the Drive-by Truckers. He and I were in a band called Adam’s House Cat. We had that band for six years. We won Musician Magazine’s best-unsigned band contest. Nothing ever became of it, but we made a really good album.” The album was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Ala., where they all lived at the time.
Upon completion of the album, the band broke up and it was never released. Hood says, “It always bugged us that we weren’t able to put that record out. It kind of fits as the missing piece of our catalog. It was a huge missing piece of the puzzle. It sounds true to what we became. We were young, in our early 20s when we made it. It is probably a little more punk rock. You can tell a Replacements influence, and a R.E.M. influence, which is befitting of the time. You can hear the seeds of what we went on to do.”
Although they won’t be touring exclusively for Town Burned Down, Cooley and Hood will be doing three shows in Georgia and Tennessee the week after it debuts. The Truckers may rework some of the songs and play them as a band. Now that the songs have all come out, get ready to hear them frequently.
“I’m really proud of the record,” Patterson says. “It was it was something that we put a lot into at the time, and it was always kind of heartbreaking to us that it never saw the light of day. That was my New Year’s resolution this year to put this record out. Now we are doing it.”