CELEBRATED Yale historian C. Vann Woodward used to talk about the irony of Southern history, and the burden of Southern history, both phrases drawn in part from the novels of Faulkner. Patterson Hood, a son of Alabama who spent several decades in Athens, GA, before leaving the South like many a literary character before him, has made a fascinating songwriting career exploring what he calls “the duality of the Southern thing.”
The latest installment of my All the Poets series in the Los Angeles Review of Books is a discussion with Hood about his childhood and current reading. For a few months I’ve been engaged in a running conversation with Hood, who is as deep and complex a guy and you’d guess from his music. His father is a longtime bass player at Muscle Shoals studio (and one of the founding members of its legendary rhythm section), so young Hood would hear about his dad playing R&B with Etta James or the Staples Singers while Gov. George Wallace thundered against black people.
Hood and I spoke about To Kill a Mockingbird, Robert Caro’s Lyndon Johnson books, and R.E.M. HERE it is.
I’m glad to say that the Truckers — a devastating live band whose most recent LP, American Band, is clearly one of the decade’s finest — play tonight in Los Angeles and may be coming to a city new you.