Patterson Hood, Murdering Oscar (and other love songs)
Release date: June 23rd, 2009
by Peter Malick
an excessively or blindly optimistic person.
It would certainly come as no surprise to fans of The Drive By Truckers that Patterson Hood is hardly a Pollyanna. Patterson’s lyrics wade in the brackish water of an above-ground pool in blue collar America’s dusty back yard. Neither directly political or judgmental, his shotgun-rack prose nevertheless touches a profound emotional hot button inside of me.
2008′s Brighter Than Creation’s Dark (New West) found Hood stepping into an expanded role in Drive-By Truckers. And the top songs of this spectacular record for me were ‘Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife‘ and ‘The Righteous Path‘, both Patterson Hood compositions. Let it be known that I jumped at the chance to listen to an advance copy of Patterson’s solo debut, Murdering Oscar (and other love songs), out June 23rd, 2009.
Coming out like Tom Waits’ chainsaw, the guitar intro of the title track is a temporary assault that morphs quickly into a deep pocket groove. Yes, as Oscar’s brains pour out, we bask in the warmth of the rhythm of the 2 and the 4. The opening track is all Rock and Reflection, and there is no remorse.
Pollyanna is a straight forward rocker stating the obvious: “Pollyanna does not live here. Pollyanna has moved far, far away.” So, I’m loving this record. Can it be that simple? The question that comes to mind for me is: When did Rock become smart? Is the pot of gold at the end of the musical rainbow a song that made you move, and moved what you’re made of?
The lineage certainly begins with ancestors like The Bob and The Lou. Jeff Tweedy, as well as The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn carry the torch, and Patterson Hood stands shoulder to shoulder with the last of the best. In a land littered with discarded Playstations and LCD screens, there’s still a need to feel all that life dishes up. The good, the bad, and the awful.
As it turns out, Murdering Oscar has been over four years in the making. The majority of the record was tracked in early 2005 and then shelved. Of particular note is the appearance of David Hood (Patterson’s dad) on three tracks. Yes, the David Hood of The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, whose credits will flat out blow you away: http://bit.ly/yYtvj.
I find the timeline for this record particularly curious. We live in a disposable world. The making of this record has probably spanned the life of your last 3 cell phones and then some. Nevertheless. It is as fresh today as the day its first guitar chord glowed out of a vacuum tube at Chase Park Transduction Studios in Athens, GA. My feeling is that it will stay just as vital for years to come.
Peter Malick plays guitar, writes and produces music in Los Angeles at Chessvolt Studios.