Tag Archives: Patterson Hood

Yulemix 2012, Drop’d! It’s time to Stay Hungry to Feed the World

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I don’t have a Christmas tree in my apartment yet. My friends haven’t seen me in weeks. My editors are all ready to fire me. I’ve been avoiding mirrors, but I assume I look like Ted Kaczynski.

It’s all for a noble cause: Every November & early December I fall into a four-to-six week time warp attempting to create the funniest and most reverent, most entertaining and most beguiling Christmas mixtape possible. (You may have read the essay I wrote about this project recently in the Washington Post. If you haven’t, please do.)

It is my great pleasure to unveil now for your hall-decking enjoyment entry No. 007 in my  Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable series. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the future of Christmas merry-making enforcement, Stay Hungry to Feed the World.  In keeping with the perpetually inflating ethos of this project, it’s the longest one yet. When it comes to Christmas, less is less. And more? Is just the most. (Hear the mix after the jump.) Continue reading

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Patterson Hood, waiting for a Happy Ending

That’s not KISS, it’s the great and good Drive-By Truckers, having a little fun last Halloween. My interview with frontman Patterson Hood about The Secret to a Happy Ending, the new DBT doc by Maryland filmmaker Barr Weisman that will have its world premiere Sunday at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre, went up over at DCist yesterday. Patterson and I spoke on Jan. 29 of this year, as the film was supposed to debut three weeks ago, but it snowed a little.

As always, Patterson was a delight to speak with, giving up more good material than I could possibly use at one time. I’ve heard The Big To-Do, the Truckers album due on March 16, and it’s predictably superior. (Sample cut “This Fucking Job” is representative.) As ever, Mike Cooley’s songs have emerged as my early favorites.

Patterson Hood Backs Up the Truck

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My preview of Drive-By Truckers frontman Patterson Hood‘s gig with The Screwtopians at the Black Cat tonight is in today’s Examiner. It’s always a delight to talk to Patterson. We had an even longer, more freewheeling conversation two Sundays ago than when I interviewed him for DCist in May of 2008. Though the Examiner piece was focused on Murdering Oscar, his new-but-not-really “solo” album, we talked a lot about upcoming DBT projects, too. I hope I’ll be able to get that material out sometime soon.
Continue reading

Live Last Night: Bettye LaVette at the 9:30 Club

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Sadly, Bettye did not wear that belt at the 9:30 last night. Reviewed for Post Rock.

Bettye LaVette at the 9:30 Club, Monday, March 9, 2009

The Setlist

01 The Stealer
02 Still Want to Be Your Baby (Take Me Like I Am)
03 Choices
04 Joy
05 My Man, He’s Loving Man
06 You Never Change
07 Let Me Down Easy
08 He Made a Woman Out of Me
09 The High Road
10 Souvenirs
11 Somebody Pick Up My Pieces
12 Your Turn to Cry
13 Talking Old Soldiers
14 ?

ENCORE

15 Close as I’ll Get to Heaven
16 Before the Money Came (The Ballad of Bettye LaVette)

I Spent My Weekend with the Drive-By Truckers at the 9:30 Club

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As the Paper of Record could not publish the title of “Buttholeville,” I didn’t even attempt to quote the following exchange in my review of the first of Drive-By Truckers’ two 9:30 Club shows this weekend. Group leader (or at least primary songwriter and spokesman) Patterson Hood, whom I had the sublime pleasure of interviewing last year, was sick with walking pneumonia, and had to skip both concerts.

Mike Cooley, halfway through his first (?) show as lead singer: “I do not need Patterson Hood anymore. I hope he sees this on YouTube and shits himself.”

Shonna Tucker: “He’s been shitting his pants all day, unfortunately.”

Get well soon, Patterson!

Here’s my unexpurgated review of the Friday show, with some additional commentary on Saturday night and setlists for both. Three . . . two . . . one . . .

“Just ‘cause I don’t run my mouth don’t mean I got nothin’ to say,” goes the line in Drive-By Truckers’ “Marry Me.” It’s one of the grizzled Alabama-by-way-of-Athens, GA outfit’s many superb numbers written and sung by second-banana frontman Mike Cooley, usually the laconic sideman to garrulous group leader Patterson Hood.

Cooley probably runneth more at the Truckers’ 9:30 Club gig Friday night than in his prior 20 years onstage. Hood was stricken with walking pneumonia, unable to perform, forcing Cooley into the mix as starting quarterback. The club had posted notice offering refunds to those unwilling to see DBT-minus-one. But most were game, and the reduced Truckers rewarded their faith with a sloppy but triumphant 21-song set, rich in the sort of Cooley slow-burners (“Cottonseed,” “Pin Hits the Shell”) that often get passed over in the whiskey-and-amphetamines crunch of full-strength DBT shows, and also in seminal rarities (“One of These Days,” “Panties in Your Purse.”)

The Truckers have long been blessed with excess when it comes to ace songcraft. After third-banana frontman Jason Isbell left two years ago, his ex-wife, DBT bassist Shonna Tucker, revealed herself as a singer/songwriter of no mean gift, contributing three topnotch tunes to 2008’s Brighter Than Creation’s Dark. She sang them all Friday, recalling Loretta Lynn in her prime. But the night clearly belonged to Cooley. Though less prolific than Hood, he’s pound-for-pound the better songwriter, and not just because all the most deliciously quotable lines in the group’s deep catalogue are his. Exhibit 794: “She woke up sunny side-down, and I was still thinking I was too proud to flip her over,” from “Gravity’s Gone.” (And there’re plenty more where that came from.)

Taking frequent pulls from the fifth of Jack Daniels making the rounds onstage, Cooley appeared to relishing his rare turn in the spotlight, soliciting requests — and lyrical aid, when he got lost in the middle of “Bob,” one of his wry character studies. “Oh yeah, it’s a country song!” he laughed, after an audience member gave him the cue, “Mama.”

Hood’s guitar and harmony vocals were missed on power cuts like “Women without Whiskey.” But guitarist William Tonks, an Athens musician who also performed with openers Bloodkin, joined in a third of the way through the set. He compensated for Hood’s absence modestly at first, but by night’s end he had made himself at home, even taking a solo on “A Ghost to Most.” And there were tributes to Hood: His mic remained set up center-stage all night, and Cooley actually walked out Hood-stiz at the top of the show, wearing a blazer and holding his arms out Christ-like, in a gentle parody of his friend’s typical entrance.

That neither Cooley nor Tucker attempted one of Hood’s songs was a little disappointing, but the fact that Cooley invited a surprisingly able punter on stage to perform “Buttholeville” made up for it. When the guy started singing “Life in the Factory” instead, Cooley & Co. fell in behind him, turning what should have been a karaoke novelty into the gig’s unlikely highlight. That this band can still deliver absent their key performer shouldn’t surprise anyone: Even city slickers know that a wounded animal is the most dangerous kind.

SATURDAY: Patterson was still on the injured list. But even taking his songs (which is to say, most of the band’s catalogue) out of the equation, DBT served up an acceptable level of variation. Another 21-song set included six not performed the night before, with two surprise covers during the encore: Spooner Oldham’s “Lonely Women Make Good Lovers” and Neil’s “Rocking in the Free World.” Friday was funnier but Saturday was tighter musically, on account of Cooley’s sobriety, probably.

The Setlists

Drive-By Truckers at the 9:30 Club, Friday, February 20, 2009

01 Daddy’s Cup
02 Three Dimes Down
03 Panties in Your Purse
04 Women without Whiskey
05 I’m Sorry, Houston (Shonna Tucker)
06 Checkout Time in Vegas
07 Gravity’s Gone
08 Space City
09 Carl Perkins’ Cadillac
10 Bob
11 Home Field Advantage (Shonna Tucker)
12 One of These Days
13 Lisa’s Birthday
14 Marry Me
15 Cottonseed
16 The Purgatory Line (Shonna Tucker)
17 A Ghost to Most
18 Life in the Factory (lead vocal by random audience member)

ENCORE

19 Pin Hits the Shell
20 Zip City
21 Shut Up and Get on the Plane

Drive-By Truckers at the 9:30 Club, Saturday, February 21, 2009

01 Zip City
02 Home Field Advantage (Shonna Tucker)
03 Uncle Frank
04 Where the Devil Don’t Stay
05 Cottonseed
06 Marry Me
07 I’m Sorry, Houston (Shonna Tucker)
08 Lisa’s Birthday
09 72 (This Highway’s Mean)
10 One of These Days
11 Bob
12 Space City
13 Guitar Man Upstairs
14 Three Dimes Down
15 Self-Destructive Zones

ENCORE

16 Lonely Women Make Good Lovers
17 Carl Perkins’ Cadillac
18 Women Without Whiskey
19 The Purgatory Line (Shonna Tucker)
20 Rocking in the Free World
21 Shut Up and Get on the Plane

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Media Mix XIII: Positively Deathly Freedom!

A pair of winners get their report cards this week. Nice to hear Mellencamp getting his dignity back. As recently as, um, ten years ago, I could tell people I liked him without fear of embarrassment. He had a strong run of albums for a decade-and-a-half from 1983’s Uh-Huh up through his self-titled Columbia debut in ’98. The ones between The Lonesome Jubilee in ’87 and Human Wheels in ’93 were especially good.

As the Hold Steady’s Stay Positive seems to have arrived without the tidal wave of hype that accompanied the release of their very-good-but-not-life-changing (though it probably changed their lives) revelatory Boys and Girls in America in 2006, I feel freer to enjoy it. It just sounds great. It’s okay for records to just sound great sometimes, yeah?