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article imageInterview with country singer Adam Hood Special

By Adrian Peel     Oct 15, 2014 in Music
Digital Journal discusses a number of topics with the inventive singer-songwriter from Alabama, including his new album, having his songs cut by Lee Ann Womack and his ongoing friendship with Miranda Lambert.
Adam Hood's fourth full-length album is due out next month. It is three years since his last one, The Shape Of Things, wowed Texas Country/Red Dirt-loving audiences and 12 years since he announced himself to the world with his solid debut, 21 To Enter.
Having built up quite a following in the South, mainly thanks to word-of-mouth and constant touring, the unassuming 39-year-old has also had his material recorded by the likes of Wade Bowen, Josh Abbott, Little Big Town and Eli Young Band. Not bad for an artist who proudly operates outside the mainstream.
"The title is based on one of the tracks," says Adam from his home in Northport, Alabama, offering an insight into the soon-to-be-released record. "The track, 'Welcome To The Big World', I wrote that song for my daughter. I wrote it for her when she turned 15 and she'll turn 16 this week...
"I guess she was the inspiration behind it, but it's one of those things where you can kinda reference the song in just anything where you have to open your mind up to change. It's not an easy thing and adjusting to bigger and better expectations of yourself is always hard.
"But at the same time, it's what has to be done. If you ever intend to better yourself, then you'll know what I mean. I go through the same things that my daughter goes through every day, as far as in my business and how I handle situations with my music.
"There's challenges involved in that just like there is challenges with your homework! But it's the necessary thing that you have to do to survive and thrive as a human being."
Listening to the accomplished performer's back catalogue, one can clearly hear a variety of influences ranging from blues and traditional country to southern rock and Red Dirt and I wondered how the man himself would describe the music this time around?
"Musically, I think it differs a lot, just based on the fact that I used a different producer... I used Rachel Loy on this one and we used a different band. We used the studio musicians that she always works with, but I've done that with every record...
"Different Groove (from 2007), I made that in LA with Pete Anderson. I made The Shape Of Things in Nashville, so we used Nashville musicians."
"I think stylistically, the songs are a little bit more across the board," he continues. "I think I tried to make Different Groove my 'roots' album - there's a traditional country song on that one, there's blusier tunes... The Shape Of Things was kind of a rock 'n' roll album and this one I don't think I really chose a specific musical direction - I just let the songs be the songs."
"There's a good blues song on there called 'Don't That Sound Like Love'," notes Adam, going into more detail regarding the tracks on this new offering, "and I pulled that right from Freddie King and Leon Russell. It goes from there to a song called 'Stars Around a Cajun Moon', which is a real stripped-down, me singing, one electric guitar and that's it."
The lead-off single from Welcome To The Big World is "Trying to Write a Love Song" and I asked the keen traveller (Hood would love to tour Europe at some point) to tell me more about it. "That's a song I've kind of had in my pocket for a little while... I wrote it with Pat McLaughlin and Logan Mize, and Pat and I wrote probably half this album. We wrote a lot of The Shape Of Things too...
"I spent seven years in Nashville writing and he and I wrote together for five or six of those seven years, at least. We'd get together every two months, I would say, so we were able to get a lot of stuff together. Lyrically Pat and I have a way of coming up with lines that seem abstract while you're writing it, until it's done. That song is the story of a guy that's trying to love his lady..."
Adam already has an idea of what the next single will be: "We're thinking about one called 'Bar Band', he reveals, "which is another one that Pat and I wrote. We're thinking about it for the next single just based on the fact that it's a real good, upbeat song.
"Everybody in the music industry can certainly relate to that song and we've already done a video for it. A guy named Josh Newcom, who did Merle Haggard's last couple of videos and a Stoney LaRue video, he was nice enough to come along to a couple of shows and make it."
The unmistakable voice of Sunny Sweeney pops up on track seven, "The Countriest." How did this pleasing collaboration come about?
"I've known Sunny for a long time, before she moved to Nashville, and she's a good friend. I've always wanted to do stuff with her, but we haven't really been able to spend a whole lot of time together .
"We did some shows together and wrote a couple of times and then life got really busy for Sunny! I wrote this song with Charlie Worsham and I pitched it to every country duo, Blake and Miranda and everybody else, and nobody picked up on it.
"My mantra is: 'Well if nobody else will record it, I'll record it'. I really wanted this song to get out there - I don't think you hear enough of those cool duets anymore...
"If you think about it, Conway and Loretta and George and Tammy, they made albums together! They made multiple records together and I think that's something that's missing in country music.
"Like I said, I wrote this one with Charlie Worsham. I had a primitive idea for the tune and he was nice enough to come in and go with me on it. I think it's a great tune and she was the first person I thought of to sing it, to be honest with you. Sunny was very generous to do it and I really appreciate it. She sounds great on it and I couldn't ask for more."
As mentioned earlier, a number of major stars have cut Adam's material (the most recent example being Lee Ann Womack, who included "Same Kind of Different" on her recent LP, The Way I'm Livin').
"I'm kind of blessed beyond my abilities, as far as people recording my stuff!" states the modest musician. "I've just always tried to make my music as honest as I can...
"With Lee Ann, Natalie Hemby and I wrote that song a while back and it's one of those tunes that I'm really proud of. I'd put it on my record if I could, but I wouldn't do it justice. With Lee Ann recording it, I just can't imagine a more pure voice singing a song like that."
As touched on in the introductory paragraph, Sunny and Lee Ann are not the only successful female country singers with whom Adam Hood has been associated.
In a curious twist of fate a few years ago, the ambitious award-winner (The Shape Of Things won Singer-Songwriter/Folk Album of The Year at the 2012 Lonestar Music Awards) became firm friends with one of country music's biggest modern-day icons, Miranda Lambert.
"I was playing a place called Tavern in the Gruene," he recalls, "which is in New Braunfels, Texas. Ray Wylie Hubbard and Mattson Rainer at KNBT do a Tuesday night show there called Roots and Branches.
"I was on that show and Miranda and her mother had car trouble and decided they were going to spend the night and were gonna go get a beer. I played a short set and she came up and introduced herself to me.
"This was right before Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, so it was a while back... I gave her a CD and then her mother called me a week later and said, 'We want you to play her birthday party'.
"Miranda and I have written a lot, just I've never had a cut on her album - which is fine. It's not for lack of trying! She's a good friend. She's the reason why I had the job that I had in Nashville for a long time and I still speak to her parents probably every two months or so. I really owe her a lot."
Adam Hood's brand new album, Welcome To The Big World, is out on November 4th.
The singer is also about to embark on a southern tour with buddy Jason Eady that kicks off on October 30th in Fort Worth, Texas.
For more information, visit Adam's official website.
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