DavidLoweryMusic.com In what proves to be one of the more compelling reasons…
- Posted on Sep 12th 2012 12:00PM by Eric R. Danton
"It kind of happened accidentally," Hood tells Spinner. "I didn't really set out to write a record. It just occurred to me that I had one. And it was a nearly finished record as far as the writing goes when it dawned on me that I had a record."
Starting a book was a way for Hood to help stave off burnout while on tour. He was writing about a "broke, frustrated songwriter" in circumstances that bore more than a passing resemblance to his own life a couple decades ago. Between each chapter, Hood intended to include a song, either something he had written at the time or a new tune from that perspective. Soon the songs (including a co-write with Kelly Hogan) took on greater resonance than the prose.
"It's probably the most autobiographical record I've done overall," Hood says. "There's usually one or two songs that are straight from my life on a record, but this whole record is kind of based around my life at two different points in time. It kind of contrasts a more troubled time a while back, 20 years ago, with the period of time I'm in now, which is not without its bumps and curveballs, but pretty good."
When the Truckers finally took a break from the road, Hood convened a group of musicians -- including Truckers bandmate Mike Cooley on banjo and his father, Muscle Shoals session ace David Hood, on bass -- to record the songs.
"That was fun," Hood says. "I didn't want it to sound like a Truckers record, even though it's my voice and pretty much all of them play on it at various times. I wanted it to be very sparse and have a lot of space between things and really breathe. I didn't want any guitar solos or anything like that, any of the things that people tend to associate, probably more than they should, with our band."
The result is an album with an unexpected emphasis on piano, which presented its own challenge for Hood.
"I wasn't writing on piano, per se, but in my head, I was hearing piano," Hood says. "I really wanted a lot of these songs to be piano-based, which is a problem when I don't play."
Truckers pianist Jay Gonzalez played the parts on the album, which Hood jokes was redemptive for the keyboardist.
"Jay has been in the band since '08, and he initially had the thankless job of being the piano player in a band with all these goddamn guitars," Hood says. "He and I have a real great connection. I can sing him something or play him something on guitar, and he'll know exactly what I'm looking for."
Hood is on the road this fall promoting Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance, which he's interspersing with a handful of Drive-By Truckers shows. Although he's already writing for the next Truckers record, he says he's nowhere near ready to book studio time yet.
"We are trying to take a good bit more time off, because we need to," Hood says. "I don't really want to do a lot of touring without a new record with them. It's not really fun for me unless there's new stuff involved."