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Monday, September 03, 2012

September 1, 2012
Scott Foley

Patterson Hood isn't even necessarily my favorite Drive-By Trucker.  I've always been more of a Mike Cooley guy, even preferring Jason Isbell's work to Hood's.  The admiration was there, though.  2009's Murdering Oscar (and other love songs) landed that year on my 20 favorite albums list, despite the fact that it was a somewhat uneven effort.  It's just that for every great Patterson Hood DBT tune, there was another where I felt he tried a bit hard to be dark and gritty.  More recent albums have seen his writing relax a bit, still focused on the down and out, but less cartoonish, more nuanced.  That trend is realized on his third solo work, the stellar Heat Lightning Rumbles In the Distance, which offers Hood's most poetic, diverse material to date.  Our first glimpse into the album came with one of two Kelly Hogan collaborations, the heartbreaking ode to Vic Chesnutt, "Come Back Little Star".  As she does so consistently, Hogan's voice works wonders alongside Hood's flawed croak.  DBT members crop up throughout a record that boasts more careful arrangements than we've seen from Hood's previous work.  Like all of his songs, these are character-driven pieces, so haunted and steeped in the mythology of the South that it's not hard to imagine that Heat Lightning reportedly began as a semi-autobiographical novel.  From the title track, "Heat lightning rumbles in the distance / The sun's falling west of the trees / The old oak's gone and the house is falling down / But the ghosts are a comfort to me ..."

*  Subdudes, "Carved In Stone"  Treme Season 2  (High St, 12)
*  Bonnie Prince Billy, "I See a Darkness"  Now Here's My Plan  (Drag City, 12)
*  Sons of Bill, "Siren Song"  Sirens  (Thirty Tigers, 12)
*  Amy Cook, "Levee"  Summer Skin  (Roothouse, 12)
*  Ryan Bingham, "Never Ending Show"  Tomorrowland  (Axster Bingham, 12)
*  Yawpers, "Distant Lover"  Capon Crusade  (Self, 12)
*  Trishas, "Far Cry From You"  High Wide & Handsome  (Self, 12)
*  American Aquarium, "St Mary's"  Burn Flicker Die  (Last Chance, 12)  D
*  Black Prairie, "Richard Manuel"  Tear In the Eye Is a Wound In the Heart  (Sugar Hill, 12)
*  Corb Lund, "Cows Around"  Cabin Fever  (New West, 12)
*  Chris McGarry, "900 Miles"  Bare Bright Halos  (Self, 12)  D
*  Gordie Tentrees, "Sideman Blues"  North Country Heart  (Self, 12)  D
*  Tim O'Brien & Darrell Scott, "White Freightliner Blues"  We're Usually a Lot Better Than This  (Full Light, 12)  D
*  Diamond Rugs, "Call Girl Blues"  Diamond Rugs  (Partisan, 12)
*  Honeycutters, "Fancy Car"  When Bitter Met Sweet  (Button Down, 12)
*  Derek Hoke, "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You"  Waiting All Night  (Electric Western, 12)
*  Bob Dylan, "Duquesne Whistle"  Tempest  (Columbia, 12)  D
*  New Ben Franklins, "Best Friend"  peter gabriel  (Dingo's Kidney, 12)
*  Dwight Yoakam, "Long Way To Go"  3 Pears  (Reprise, 12)
*  Iris Dement, "Go On Ahead and Go Home"  Sing the Delta  (Flariella, 12)
*  Uncle Lucius, "Pocket Full of Misery"  And You Are Me  (eOne, 12)  D
*  Guy Forsyth, "Red Dirt"  Freedom To Fail  (Blue Corn, 12)  D
*  Greater Pacific, "Andn You All Remain With Me"  Incandescent  (Yer Bird, 12)  D
*  Patterson Hood, "Disappear"  Heat Lightning Rumbles In the Distance  (ATO, 12)
*  Graham Weber, "Unrequited Love"  Women  (Self, 12)
*  Jimmy LaFave, "Talk To Me"  Depending On the Distance  (Music Road, 12) 

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