Adam Hood continues the onslaught of outstanding releases here in the last couple months of 2014 (Wade Bowen, Stoney LaRue). His latest, Welcome to the Big World, continues his streak of releasing fully-realized songs and albums that mix elements of country, blues, soul and rock better than any other contemporary artist. The proud native Alabaman has been an honorary Texan for well over a decade. The reason being, that as the mainstream of Texas Music has veered closer to Nashville caricature each year, Hood has maintained a hard-earned and original artistic vision. Hood’s songwriting is always rooted in his real life. He does a better job than most of making the most personal become the most easily accessible. Meaning that although these songs are straight from his soul in Opelika, AL they can hit your heart as true in Anywhere USA.
The songs on Welcome to the Big World evoke an artist trying his best to maintain a balance between home and the road. This has been a common theme throughout Hood’s entire catalog. As he ages, the songs take on a whiskey-soaked wisdom that lesser artists try to pull off without the same gravitas. These songs grab your attention and don’t let go. You picture yourself as the lonely troubadour in the dingy hotel room watching an old black and white movie in “Way Too Long”. You’re the tired musician loading in and longing to be any other place in the world on “Whole Lot of Hard Work”. A true standout track is the Will Hoge collaboration “Postcards and Payphones” which Hood has been playing live for a while now. If you want to know Adam Hood, listen to this song. His soul is laid bare as he talks about missing his wife, daughter and family while on the road to entertain us all.
Behind the power of Kickstarter, Hood reclaimed complete creative control of this record. One of the first things he did was to surround himself with grade A level studio players. Including bringing in the virtuoso guitar of Rob McNelley (Delbert McClinton, LeeAnn Womack) to bolster the guitar tones. A very wise decision as the tones on this record are some of the most stout and tasty I’ve ever heard. Each run and note seem to embody the same qualities that drip out of Hood’s voice. Smooth, sharp, soulful and countrified all at once. This is best exemplified in the opening track “Don’t That Sound Like Love To You”.
Adam Hood is a true musical hero in a sea of fake plasticness. He’s real. That’s what people respond to, and what folks have been digging down in Texas since 2003. You won’t find a more authentic, real or genuine album than Welcome to the Big World and I thank Adam Hood for inviting us into his world for these 11 tunes.