Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance

Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance

by Patterson Hood


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Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance

The first rule of making a solo album is there's no point in bothering unless you're trying to do something you couldn't do within the context of your band, and Patterson Hood clearly understands this. The tenor of Hood's lyrical voice is strong enough that there's a clear link between his music with the Drive-By Truckers and his solo material, but his first two albums, 2004's Killers and Stars and 2009's Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs), found him exploring themes that were too quirky, intimate, or idiosyncratic to fit comfortably within the big, muscular sound of the DBTs. The paradox of his third solo effort, Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance, is that it sounds and feels the least like an album by the Truckers, but comes closest to capturing the deep emotional resonance of their finest work. The songs on Heat Lightning were inspired by an uncompleted novel Hood wrote about a period of personal, musical, and familial chaos in the '90s, and while this music isn't as stark as the four-track demos that became Killers and Stars, the songs are as personal and emotionally naked as anything the man has ever released, and the music is a fine match in its spare but evocative arrangements. These 12 songs are dominated by failing relationships, friendships lost to bad luck and destructive impulses, family discord, and the downsides of a life lived in transit, and though Hood has never been known to shy away from tragedy in his lyrics, there's an unpretentious literacy in Heat Lightning's unflinching yet compassionate storytelling that's deeply affecting. And while several members of the Drive-By Truckers accompany Hood on these sessions, the overall impact isn't just quieter, but finely attuned to the dour realities of these characters in an appreciatively individual way. Hood has never written a set of songs that cohere as powerfully as these do, the individual snapshots gaining strength and depth as a whole. And while it may be a bit out of place thematically, Hood's collaboration with Kelly Hogan, "Come Back Little Star," is a beautiful and heartbreaking farewell to their friend and colleague Vic Chesnutt, and a brilliant reminder of the unpredictable mysteries of fate, as good a summation of this album's themes as anything. While Patterson Hood's first two solo albums were full of fine music, they often seemed to have been created as a venue for songs that just didn't suit the DBTs. Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance, on the other hand, stands on its own as a catalog of troubled hearts and souls, and it's a brave, compelling collection from an artist who continues to evolve in remarkable and unexpected ways.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/11/2012
Label: Ato Records
UPC: 0880882181826
catalogNumber: 21818
Rank: 136796

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Patterson Hood   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Mandocello,Monologue,Vocal Harmony
David Barbe   Bass,Electric Bass,Shaker
Kelly Hogan   Vocals,Vocal Harmony
David Hood   Bass
John Neff   Pedal Steel Guitar
Mike Cooley   Banjo
Scott Danbom   Fiddle,Piano,Violin,Cello
Brad Morgan   Percussion,Drums,Tambourine,Pipe Snare Drum
Will Johnson   Electric Guitar,Vocal Harmony
Jacob Morris   Violin,Cello
Jay Gonzalez   Piano,Accordion,Mellotron,Piano (Grand),Piano (Upright)

Technical Credits

David Barbe   Producer,Engineer
Kelly Hogan   Composer
Kevin Morris   Management
Tim Hall   Additional Production
Andy LeMaster   Engineer
Patterson Hood   Composer,Producer
James Alderman   Management
Wes Freed   Artwork,Illustrations
Lilla Hood   Art Direction
Will Johnson   Atmosphere
Matt DeFilippis   Live Sound Engineer,Road Manager
Christine Stauder   Management
Drew Vandenberg   Engineer
Frank Riley   Management
Matt Hickey   Management
J. Reid Hunter   Legal Counsel
Traci Thomas   Publicity
Jenn Bryant   Web Design
Phoebe Gellman   Additional Production
Jon Salter   Additional Production
Edwin Schroter   Additional Production
Tom Scott   Management
Steve Rainbow   Additional Production
Rebecca Hood   Cover Photo

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