In 1994, when he wrote half the songs for his new solo album Murdering Oscar and Other Love Songs, future Drive-By Truckers frontman Patterson Hood was fresh off of a bitter divorce and living what he calls “a more bohemian” lifestyle. Fast forward to 2004: Hood—now with a successful band, loving wife, and his first child on the way—stumbles on a cassette of those lost tunes and is impressed enough with what he hears to finish the album. But instead of trying to revisit that darker, more uncertain time in his past, he fills out Murdering Oscar with freshly written songs that provide a counterpoint to what he’d started a decade earlier. Today, after an additional five years in label limbo, this long-awaited record is finally seeing daylight.
You and the rest of the Truckers just recorded Potato Hole with [Stax legend] Booker T, but it’s not the first time you’ve done the backing-band thing—you did a record not too long ago with Bettye LaVette. How was the experience different working with Bettye LaVette versus Booker T?
Paste: Who are you talking to right now?