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Flying solo, Hood does DBT justice

City Winery, Boston, November 29, 2022

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

With the Drive-By Truckers off the road until 2023, lead singer Patterson Hood hit the road anyway. Following in the footsteps of DBT guitarist Mike Cooley, Hood appeared at the same club exactly two weeks later with a slightly larger, but small crowd.

And like Hood's band mate, there was a lot to like about the set. This was a chance to hear Hood's songs – mostly DBT material – in a very stripped-down manner. That meant Hood was sitting down for the duration of the 105-minute show with acoustic guitar in hand. No other instruments. No other musicians.

And given that the songs tend to be very wordy and overwhelmingly non-commercial (okay, there was one song on the night – "Bulldozers and Dirt" that could be described as catchy), this was an excellent way to catch Hood live.

Hood's somewhat scuffed-up voice would be hard to label it a thing of beauty, but then again he does the songs justice in his plain style.

Hood also showed his sense of humor certainly in his songs and also his banter. "The Thanksgiving Filter" may be his take on the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season. It's not quite as funny as Robert Earl Keen's "Merry Christmas From the Family," but it falls within those parameters.

A chatty, likable sort, Hood had a few yarns to tell, some dating back to his previous band in Muscle Shoals, Ala. and later successful attempts to get Cooley back in the band fold. And a bit of an oddball story about a real-life character (Billy Ringo) he encountered earlier in his life, who simply disappeared. But like any good songwriter, Hood managed to get two good songs ("Better Than the Truth" and "Billy Ringo in the Dark") out of it, which he played consecutively.

Hood laid out small town life in Alabama with the title track of DBT's recent disc, "Welcome 2 Club XIII," by offering up the title track about an early club that he and Cooley played together. That was one of several from the new release, which bodes well for a full-fledged DBT tour.

He tackled social commentary real hard and poignantly on the difficulties of America in "21st Century USA" from restaurant chains to Amazon to prescription pills. Life, of course, isn't always pretty from Hood's vantage point.

Not everything went according to plan on this night. Hood was apparently quite rusty in remembering the words to "Better Than the Truth" because four different times, he had to pause or correct himself. Afterwards, Hood promised he'd get the song right next time around. Yet, given the low-key atmosphere and certainly supportive crowd, this was but a minor glitch.

With Drive-By Truckers off the road, having one of its mainstays out there doing the band justice worked just fine.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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