“What does Red Dirt mean? That’s a good question. You always hear the statement that there’s something in the water in Texas,” Hood says in a phone conversation from his Alabama home in mid-July.
“You can listen to the artists out there, and there’s some sort of musical common ground that you can’t put your finger on,” he continues. “Stylistically, there’s so much diversity which came from that region. There was Bob Wills and the whole Texas Swing thing, then all the country stuff.
“A lot of my influences come from there as well,” Adam adds. “They’re diverse and distinct. That sets them apart.”
After this year’s Lone Star Music Awards show, Examiner.com noted that “Hood is one of the most popular songwriters in Texas, not an easy accomplishment for someone who doesn’t live here. His performance showed why, as he ran through a solo set of some of his most popular songs, including `Late Night Diner,’ ‘Flame And Gasoline,’ and ‘I’ll Sing About Mine.’ ”
One Texas artist, the Sony Nashville superstar Miranda Lambert, literally happened to first hear Adam when her car broke down in 2007. That was at a club in New Braunfels, Texas, and his subsequent invitation to play at her birthday party led to Adam’s meeting with Lambert producer Frank Liddell of Carnival Music, whose other credits include Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.”
Liddell and Hood have been working together and good buds ever since. Adam is especially proud of his latest album The Shape Of Things, a collection of songs he and Liddell worked on for several years before releasing the record last October.
“For me, I think it’s the best album I’ve done to date,” Hood says. “It kind of defined what I do as a songwriter, as an artist, as a musician, and as a player. I put a lot of myself into this record, I had a lot of liberties as far as the recording process.
“I got to play on it and do my own thing,” he adds. “And people really seem to like it.”
Another group who’s really liked Adam’s songs is Capitol Nashville quartet Little Big Town, who have cut “Front Porch Thang,” one of the songs off the new record Adam loves most.
“The full Little Big Town was present last night,” Music Row magazine’s Jon Freeman wrote of an April show, “starting off with the funky, mid-tempo Adam Hood song `Front Porch Thang.’ Someone’s going to have a hit with that cut.”
“Front Porch Thang” was penned by Adam and Chris Stapleton, the ex-SteelDrivers frontman whose writing credits also include Josh Turner’s “Your Man.”
“Chris is a guy who can do anything, with one of the most powerful and distinctive voices. I never heard anybody sing like that before,” Hood says. “If there’s a definition of a soulful singer and artist, it’s Chris Stapleton, and I was intimidated to sit and write with him.”
The song has a groove that won’t quit, but is not complicated in its chord structure or melody.
“It’s really simple,” Hood says. “There’s not a lot goin’ on, but because of that the vibe really sticks out. The good thing is I heard Little Big Town do their version live before I heard it on their album.”
For the rest of 2012, Adam Hood will keep on doing just what he’s been doing, commuting from Alabama to Nashville, maintaining a hectic writing and touring schedule, and playing mostly in the Lone Star State.
“I do the vast majority of my touring in Texas, even though I’m from the Southeast,” says Hood.
For a guy who loves Texas music and whole Red Dirt scene, that sounds like the ideal itinerary.
By Phil Sweetland