Best known as leader of the Drive-By Truckers, songwriter Patterson Hood was born into a musical family, with his father (David Hood) serving as the longtime bassist for studio legends the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. Patterson began writing songs at the tender age of eight, and by the time he was 14 he was playing guitar in a local rock band. While attending college in 1985, he formed the band Adam’s House Cat with his friend Mike Cooley, and the group won Musician Magazine’s Best Unsigned Band competition three years later. However, the band’s regional acclaim didn’t translate into significant commercial success, and its sole full-length album was never released.
After Adam’s House Cat split up, Hood and Cooley continued to work together. They eventually formed the Drive-By Truckers in 1996, following a mutual relocation to Athens, GA. Drawing equal influence from country and rock & roll, the Drive-By Truckers released their first album, Gangstabilly, in 1998. However, it was with their ambitious double-disc set, 2001’s Southern Rock Opera, that garnered the Truckers their first dose of nationwide critical acclaim. Southern Rock Opera’s success as an independent release helped earn the a band a contract with Lost Highway Records, which soon reissued the album on a wider scale. After the label had a falling out with the DBTs over their somber follow-up, Decoration Day, the group bought the album back from Lost Highway and, instead, partnered with the independent label New West Records. Decoration Day was then released to rave reviews in 2003.
Throughout the bulk of the Drive-By Truckers’ career, Hood also wrote music that didn’t suit the band’s muscular stomp. In 2001, as the Truckers were completing Southern Rock Opera, Hood — who by his own admission was going through a difficult period, having weathered a divorce and some personal difficulties with his bandmates — recorded a set of acoustic demos that were considerably darker than most of his compositions for the group. Hood pressed up a CD of the acoustic sessions, titled the collection Killers and Stars, and sold copies at his periodic solo shows, with the album described as “a work in progress.” In 2004, Hood enlisted the help of producer David Barbe, who mastered the records before New West gave Killers and Stars a proper release. Hood returned to the solo game several years later with Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs), which found him partnering with his father for the first time on record.
Heavy and Hanging
On the morning I found you,
I was fixing the alarm
Called the papers before 911
Now their asking me questions bout this thing that I found
And I never heard a single word you put down
And I’m running out of answers to everything Heavy and hanging by a string
I don’t have lots of money
like those people on the TV
See I have some real problems
Like what to do tomorrow and the day after that
And where I left that ski mask
And I’m running out of answers out of steam Heavy and hanging by a string
Now I’m lying on the sidewalk on your TV screen
Heavy and hanging, heavy and hanging, heavy and hanging by a string
- Audio from the 2009 album, Murdering Oscar (and other love songs):