Patterson Hood: Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs)

Music Reviews Patterson Hood
Patterson Hood: Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs)

Drive-By Truckers frontman explores his past, present & future on sophomore solo outing

Patterson Hood wrote half the songs on this new album in 1994, fresh off a bitter divorce; the rest he wrote around 2004 while happily married with a newborn child. The resulting collection of story-songs meanders between these distinct moods, hinting at the cynical struggles of Hood’s past and the joy, contentment and optimism he now embraces. This dichotomy is mirrored by the blend of filthy guitars and lucid, hopeful piano on “Pollyanna”; by the scathing sarcasm of “Screwtopia” (a deadpan swipe at suburban emptiness) and the gentle sweetness of “Grandaddy” (Hood’s picture-perfect vision of old age). Recorded with go-to DBT producer David Barbe, Murdering Oscar features the entire Truckers lineup, plus Hood’s father—legendary Muscle Shoals session player David Hood—and members of Centro-Matic. With redneck-underground country, slightly detuned minor-key Southern rock, grungy Crazy Horse-indebted lopers and Stonesy rockers, there’s a little of everything Hood’s done so far, plus a few dashes of discovery—bleak, uncharacteristic piano waltz “Pride of the Yankees” is a lyrical high-water mark, as Hood pickpockets disparate religious, literary and pop-cultural and references, reassembling them into a moving collage that tells an entirely new story.

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