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{20 Questions} Adam Hood

Adam Hood is a name that is hitting the ears and tongues of music fans and musicians in our scene increasingly more often. Adam is a talented and soulful singer/songwriter from Alabama who is beginning to make waves in our scene after several years of climbing up from obscurity in our area. He played Galleywinter’s GreenFest 2005 and has been a growing favorite of ours since then. Check out this edition of Twenty Questions and learn more about the soulful troubadour from Opelika, Alabama.
1. What’s new and exciting with Adam Hood?

Let’s see…what’s new in Adam’s life? Well, I’m finishing up my third year of
touring in and around Texas and it seems we’ve made some good progress. We
were invited to play MusicFest in Steamboat this year and were also invited to the Gruene With Envy awards this year. I’m excited about both events. After the Sunday show I did with Stoney, we started getting some good attention here on the Galleywinter site. This is a very cool resource! People really talk up the artists they believe in on this site and others really listen. It’s a noticeable difference at our shows. Other than that, we just got on with a good booking agent that’s going to keep us in Texas a little more, got an endorsement from D’Addario strings and are FINALLY getting ready to release my first full-length studio CD with Little Dog Records in late spring. Good things.

2. In addition to having a very soulful voice, you’re noted for being quite the guitar picker. How long have you been playing? Are you self-taught? What’s your rig consist of these days?

I started playing guitar the summer going into 7th Grade so I was around
12 years old. I took a few months of lessons but after a while I got to
where I could figure things out on my own. It never hurts to take lessons,
but I can learn as much just sitting around playing with other people. My
rig is simple (not really what you’d call a rig) I have a Martin and a
Guild that I run through an Equalizer pedal for a boost. That’s it. It’s
not enough for me sometimes, but it’s all I really need right now. I’ve
toyed with amps, but it’s a tightrope dealing with acoustic amps and
different rooms, etc. I’m OK with what I have for now.

3. Name association

Stoney LaRue- He is one of the only people that really grabs and keeps my
attention. I remember the first time I saw him at Poor David’s in Dallas
with Wade Bowen and Jason Bayles. We opened for them, Justin Johnson and
I. I remember Justin and I both saying “man, that guy’s good.” I hate to
sound like I never enjoy live shows, but Stoney has a unique talent and a
charisma about him that you just don’t see much at all. He’s always been a
friend to us and everyone around him has treated me as a peer.

Josh Grider- Josh and his band are like the Rush of Texas Country. Before anyone gets upset, let me explain. I always heard that Rush was thinking man’s
rock and roll. Josh is thinking man’s Texas country. He and his band throw
everything into a set. Their songs are way more than just three chords.
It’s very creative, but still true to style. You can tell they study hard!

Jason Boland- I don’t know that much about Jason Boland, I hate to say. I know he came through the southeast with Wayne Mills quite a few times, but I never caught a show. Roger Ray, Jason’s pedal steel player, sat in with us at the
Galleywinter party and it was very cool. He’s a cool guy. Jason’s new
album was produced by Pete Anderson, who is producing my new CD. I heard
some rough mixes while I was out there. He seems to do what he does well.
It’s just hard to get into someone’s music by just hearing a CD or two.
Without the live show there’s just an element missing and that’s what I’ve
missed with Jason, for now.

Wayne Mills- To me, he is like an Alabama version of a Jason Boland. I
suppose that’s why they tour together so much and get along so well, because
they compliment each other very well. They both have that half-time, 2 beat,
hard core country thing down! I’ve known Wayne for a long time. He’s a
super guy and he’s always been successful at what he does. I’m glad to see
he’s doing okay out here in Texas because he deserves it. That guy is a
legend back home and he’s pretty much done it all in Alabama.

4. How tired are you of “Sweet Home Alabama” requests from drunks in bars?

I just can’t understand why people want to hear Sweet Home Alabama in
Texas or Kansas!

5. You have a great range of covers that you pull off so well, some so well that they upstage the original. What are the makings of a good cover for you? What are some of your favorites to play?

The songs I cover the most and pull off the best are ones I can really feel. The covers that make me say “…damn, I wish I thought of that.” I do a few Martin Sexton songs. I usually get where he’s coming from. I do a few Ray Lamontagne tunes. I try to cover all the Tony Brook songs I can. Tony can paint a picture of Alabama better than anyone I know.

6. You’re a well-known commodity in the thriving SEC music scene and are now making waves in Texas after three years of road-dogging and building a devoted fan-base one at a time. What are the similarities and differences of the southeastern music scene and the Texas/Oklahoma scene?

There are more differences than similarities between the southeast and
the Texas/Oklahoma area to me. Birmingham and Oklahoma City are a lot alike to me and it’s just a general feeling. They are both fairly large cities with a
small town vibe. I like that! College Station reminds me a lot of Auburn.
The vet school and cool bars. The big difference between this area and the area where I’m from is that you guys absolutely love good music and will come out, talk up, drive, fly, do whatever it takes to show as much support as you can when you believe in it. I don’t want to bash my home, I do well there and have friends that have always been good to me. But there’s no such thing as Galleywinter in Alabama! There very few radio stations that play our country or free press magazines that
talk up our artists. There’s plenty of good music in Alabama, I just wish the people in Alabama were as proud and supportive of it as you are in
Texas.

7. If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would you collaborate with and why?

I want to sit down with Willie, of course. John Hiatt is my hero, I’d
really like to write with him sometime.

8. The legendary Leon Russell has sort of taken you under his wing and given you some great opportunities in this business. Discuss how that partnership came about and what it’s like to work with him.

I got hooked up with Leon Russell through his booking agent (Zack Baker)
and his guitar player(Jason Speegle.) Both are friends of mine from Alabama. The opportunity came up last August and the shows just kept coming. It’s so cool. I’ve played some of the best rooms in some of the coolest places in the country. I saw Bo Derek in California. How cool is that?! There were other famous folks at his shows in CA, but she was the best celebrity to date by far!

9. What are you listening to and digging right now, that all the rest of us should get up to speed on?

Now I’m listening to The Wood Brothers, old Dire Straits, the first 2 albums, And the Black Keys. That’s a few CDs that have been floating around this month. I still have my standards: Freddie King, The Stones, Steve Earle. That stuff is classic for a reason.

10. Stories behind the following songs:

Tuesday Night- I used to play Tuesdays at a place called Champs outside the
Auburn limits. The whole first verse was the scene every Tuesday. “My head’s aching from everyone’s cigarettes…” and ” I was the only one listening.” I just wrote that song to get me through those shows.

Coffee Song- This is a spin on a movie I saw a long time ago. Frankie and johnny were the characters in that movie. I wanted to see if I could come up with
a different way to tell that story, which was that they did not live happily
ever after in my story. That’s more true to life.

Play Something We Know- That was a song I wrote with Justin in 5 minutes!! All those years of people up in your face yelling at you like you pissed on
their rug. That progression of songs was as easy as ABC!

A Million Miles Away- This is one I’m very proud of and people seem to like. I was at the end of my marriage and we were in two different places. It’s a sad
thing to think of. I don’t mess around when it comes to stuff like that and we put our all into our relationship. Having someone’s heart in such a different place as yours when you used to be so together is really painful. So, that’s where it came from. Lately, I get some neat e-mails from people in the military and people studying overseas and other stories about how they relate to that song in different circumstances. That is the best part of my job! Better than gigs, better than writing. That is what keeps me going. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true. When I can create something that does more than encourage you to drink, or sing; when it gets to someone on a deeper level, I know I’m doing what I should be doing. I’m in the right line of work.

11. You’re on the road so much, more than most artists. What is home for you? How often are you there? What is your favorite thing to do when you get there?

Home for me is Opelika, AL. It’s a small town next to Auburn. It’s similar to Bryan and College Station. I’m there close to 2 weeks out of every other month. The holidays are here so I’m home more now, but we usually work things to get me on the road for 4 weeks and home for 2 weeks. When I’m home I sleep!

12. Some may say that gigs are like pizza and sex, never bad. However, everyone has stories of nightmare gigs…give us your most outrageous.

My worst gig was in Aiken, SC about four years ago. We were scheduled to play a place called the Hideaway. They were going to pay us $300 and a hotel to play on a Saturday night. That money was so unheard of back then, we made a vacation out of it! Justin brought his wife and everything. We pulled into Aiken at 3 am and the guys at the club finally told us they hadn’t booked the rooms yet, so we drove back to Augusta, slept the night and headed into Aiken for the show that next evening. We drove about 10 miles outside of Aiken and finally saw a flashing sign in BFE that
said “Tonight, Adam Hood.” So, we turned down a dirt road and found a Cinder Block building in the middle of a trailer park that had my poster on the door. We walked in and the door guy looked at Justin’s wife and said “Y’all must be with the band!” That fellow got knocked out cold by another patron/ex-con not two hours later. The sad thing was, he was the security, so that fight went on forever! needless to say, we got paid in $1’s and never went back to Aiken.

13. On the flip side of that, clue us in to what makes a perfect gig.

I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as a perfect gig. There’s always something unexpected that happens, but that’s life. The good gigs are simply the ones where folks come out to see us play. I know that sounds generic, but we’ve been doing things the hard way for some time and I’ve learned to really appreciate when folks come out and sing the songs and have a good time.

14. If you were a rapper, what would your MC name be? Who’s your favorite rapper? What’s the greatest rap song of all-time?

I have some friends in a rap group called the Villbillies out of Louisville, KY. They always call me Bama, so I guess MC Bama. The last rap album I had was Kool Mo D, so I guess he’s my favorite. Old school, baby!

15. Favorite touring memory of the following towns/clubs:

River Road Icehouse- The GreenFest in 2005 was the first time I completely lost my voice. I only had 3 songs to sing and couldn’t get through it!

Gruene Hall- The first show opening for Leon. I was playing solo then.
That’s a tough stage to play by yourself. I remember people two-stepping to
“Nobody Comes Here Anymore.” That gave me a better perspective on Texas.

Saxon Pub-We played after Bob Schnieder one Monday. That gave me yet
another perspective on how far we’ve got to go.

Snorty Horse- When Steven showed me the bunkhouse upstairs where the band slept, I knew we were in for a very good time! I slept on the couch with my
boots on that night and when I woke up I walked outside to meet two girls hanging out in the parking lot drinking beer… at noon! My kind of place! That place will always be one of my favorites.

Wormy Dog- Jarrod Birmingham came to one of our last shows there. So while we were taking a break, Jarrod told me “…you know, I used to play drums.”
So Jarrod sat in on Patrick’s drums to a honky tonk rendition of Ian Moore’s
“Satisfied.”

Jackson,MS- KA house at Milsaps. Lots of memories!

Dallas- We opened for Ian Moore and were at the bar talking to David. He
got so excited during Ian’s set that he punched Justin in the mouth. I don’t think
it was intentional, but it was hilarious!

16. Culture-wise, in your opinion, what are the biggest similarities and differences between Texan and Alabamans?

The major similarities between Texans and Alabamians is hospitality. I suppose it’s just a southern thing. The big difference is pride. Texans are proud of their history and their culture. I admire that a lot.

17. Aside from music, when you have your precious free time, what are your favorite hobbies?

I don’t really have any hobbies. I know that’s sad, but if I’m not playing then I’m writing. Other than that, my daughter gets the time I have away from the road.

18. Rapid fire:

-Roll Tide or War Eagle: War Damn Eagle!

-Favorite restaurant- My favorite restaurant is a little place in Burbank
called Taco Casita. It’s just a small place in a strip mall down the road from Little Dog’s studio, but that’s the best grilled chicken I’ve ever had. I crave that place sometimes.

19. What is your favorite George Strait song? Everyone gets this question. It serves as a barometer of of comparison amongst your peers and your taste.

“Marina Del Ray” is my favorite Strait song.

20. What separates the type of music you and your peers are making in the underground with the stuff that Clear Channel plays on the radio?

I’m glad you consider me part of the underground. The artists I’ve patterned my career after aren’t the kind of artists you’ll ever see on the cover of People or hear on Top 40. I feel like I’m doing something right! Clear channel is out there to appeal to millions and when you do that you have to make things so vague you lose the essence… the soul. Music should get under your skin and make you think and make you feel. You can’t predict that happening to millions of people in different walks of life, age groups, etc. It either happens or it doesn’t. Some people get what I’m
saying, some don’t. I want to say what I feel and just hope someone else will feel the same way. I don’t want to be limited and constricted by numbers. Millions don’t matter. it’s the person that matters.

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