PATTERSON HOOD WITH SPECIAL GUESTS, JAY GONZALEZ & BRAD MORGAN – DYLAN LEBLANC OPENS
Saturday, February 9th
8:00pm / doors at 7:00pm
General admission: $25
Table of 4 reserved seats: $125
A Note from PATTERSON HOOD:
Back in January 2011, worn out from having spent a year on tour and facing a new album’s release and another year spent mostly on a bus, away from the comforts of home and family, I decided to try to write a book. I had made a couple of stabs in that direction before (as well as a couple of screenplays) but had so far failed to complete one. The thing is, I love to write on the road. I write most every day out there. It’s usually not songs, as completing a song amid all of the noise, distractions and music blasting on the bus is very difficult (I do often start songs there that get finished later) but writing non-musical compositions comes pretty easy for me out here and it sure passes the time. Beside, I had an idea for a story I wanted to write and it started coming very easily. By our third month on the road I already had a pretty firm outline of what I wanted and several chapters that I felt really good about.
I was calling my book “Slam Dancing in the Pews”, named after a cassette that Virgil Kane had recorded in 1992 when Cooley and I were playing shows under that name after the break up of Adam’s House Cat. The book was basically half-assed fictionalization of that very turbulent period of my life. I was 27, my band broke up, I got divorced and left my hometown to live in Memphis. My car got stolen, our band’s truck got stripped and I fell in love. I fell out with my family (who I was very, very close to) and had my heart broken. I seriously pondered killing myself several times but instead wrote literally over 500 songs in a three-year period. A time when I reinvented myself artistically and experienced a sort of rebirth that led to a lot of the things I have done in the last two decades.
My book would sort of tell that story, but interspersed with lyrics from that period of my life, as well as new song lyrics either set in that time or from the point of view of various characters from the book. The structure would be chapter / song / chapter / song and so on. If the book was coming fast, the songs were coming even easier. Then the booked stopped coming. Someday I may want to tell that story, but timing is everything and this just isn’t the time for it.
The songs, however continued to pour out, taking a few left turns and then morphing into its own thing. Most of this album comes from that short period of time between February and June of 2011. The songs begin in the period that the book was set in, but don’t end there, as they really just were the impetus for writing about the life I am living now and contrasting it with the troubled times of two decades ago.
I called it Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance and decided that spring to record it as a solo album. I could clearly hear in my head exactly how I wanted every song to sound and made a list of who I wanted to play on each one. It is in some ways the most personal album I’ve ever made. There has always been a lot of me in all of the albums we’ve done, but usually semi-disguised as character sketches and stories, but the first person narrative in this one is pretty firmly rooted in autobiography, albeit in two dramatically differing time periods.
A Festival of Teeth – The making of Heat Lightning:
I have GarageBand on my computer so I decided to record a rough sketch of the album in my office, off from our kitchen at our house. The new songs nearly sequenced themselves into a near narrative and I started passing out my GarageBand demos to various friends and relations and received near unanimous positive feedback from it.
David Hood is a session bass player who played on tons of those great Muscle Shoals soul classics back in the day. He played bass on The Staple Singers’ classic “I’ll Take You There” as well as hits by Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Bobby Womack, Bob Seger, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson and Etta James. He is also my Dad and he came over to record with me last fall and absolutely outdid himself. His playing on the title cut is just stunning and we had an amazing time working together.
David Barbe, who has partnered with me on almost everything I’ve done for about a decade now, co- produced and played bass on the rest of the album.
Kelly Hogan has long been one of my favorite people and I knew I wanted her to sing on my album. She has just recently recorded an album of her own and she and I had attempted to co-write a song for it. She sent me a set of lyrics to an unfinished song she was working on about our friend Vic Chesnutt. I loved her lyrics and set about re-writing it and turning it into a song called “Come Back Little Star” which I then sent back to her to complete, but alas she didn’t get it finished in time to make her album and upon deciding to do my album, asked her if I could finish it for my album and she agreed. She came down to Georgia and sang on it and on “After The Damage” which I also wrote with her voice in mind. Upon singing her takes she could see through the glass into the control room what she described as “A Festival of Teeth.”
As always, BRAD MORGAN played drums and just keeps getting better and better all of the time. As a lot of the songs were piano based (and since I’m just not a very good piano player) I was fortunate to have JAY GONZALEZ playing Andy Baker’s grand piano (on indefinite loan to Chase Park Transduction) as well as Wurlitzer, accordion and Mellotron. John Neff came by to play some spot-on pedal steel and we even got Cooley in to play banjo on a couple of tracks.
My love for the Denton, Texas band Centro-matic is well known and once again I was fortunate to have Will Johnson and Scott Danbom in for a few days each to play with me. Will came in October, played some guitar and did some stunning singing. Scott came by in August and played upright piano on “Leaving Time”, then came back in early December and played the fiddle. I had always heard cello on some of these songs and for the first time got to play with Jacob Morris (Madeline, Moths and Old Smokey).
In the end, I think we made the most intimate and personal record of my career and I’m extremely proud of how it all turned out. I have put together a really good band, The Downtown Rumblers, to go out tour behind it and I’m really looking forward to taking this show on the road.
DYLAN LEBLANC‘s sophomore album Cast The Same Old Shadow will be released on August 21st by Rough Trade Records. Born in Shreveport, Dylan moved to Muscle Shoals, Alabama when he was 11 and he is the dark horse of the vibrant and close-knit musical community there that includes Alabama Shakes, Secret Sisters, and Civil Wars to name a few.
Dylan’s songs however, are considerably darker than that of his Alabama counterparts. He says “I wasn’t conscious of a theme before I made it – I didn’t mean to, but I just happen to base a lot of my work on emotions – and at the time, they just happened to be negative ones.”
The songs on the new album are fraught with recollections of love, loss and regret. He was admittedly an emotional wreck when he wrote them, but emotions of that sort often lead to the most heartfelt music around. Since his debut album Paupers Field, Dylan has grown as a singer and a songwriter and a guitar player. He’s experienced a lot of life already, and while he’s still trying to figure it all out, he’s ready to share the melancholy emotions he loves so much.
Dylan states “I love it when music puts me a melancholy mood. Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline and especially the song “Forever” by Pete Drake – those ones put me there and I want to give people that feeling too. I want people to feel something when they hear my music. A good hurt.”
But Dylan wants to make it clear that he also had a good time while he was making the record. He had fun working with Trina Shoemaker, who-co-produced the album with him, and for the first time he had someone next to him telling him if something was a good take or a bad take, which was a big help. She’d mixed Dylan’s previous album.
Late nights, he would listen to a lot of Ray Charles, Beach House, Kitty Wells and Wilco and contemplate the day. Dylan cites George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass as being a major influence on this record, and you may also hear echoes of Ennio Morricone, Radiohead and Gene Clark as well.
It was when the record was nearing completion that Dylan’s anxiety and stress got the best of him. To silence his fears, he tried to self-medicate, and in doing so, he chose to be a recluse until he got his head together. It was a tough time that he ultimately got through by reminding himself why it was he started making music in the first place – because it is fun.
Dylan is now on a more positive spiritual journey and he is proud to sing these songs and he realizes that life doesn’t have to be so hard. He says “the songs are honest and they come from an honest place. I’ve been given the privilege to be able to write songs that come from the heart and for that I am grateful.”
When Dylan thinks about sharing these songs, he often thinks of the words of Jeff Tweedy on Wilco’s “What Light” when he sings the line “Just remember what was yours is everyone’s from now on”.
Putting his personal thoughts into the lyrics of a song has been cleansing for Dylan and now he’s ready to tackle the next step….and have some fun again.
TRACK BY TRACK:
Part One: The End: “I had a crazy dream and this was the theme music to it. In my dream I was walking through the forest, and there was a battle going on and everyone was shooting each other and then people were hanging out and smoking cigarettes with their rifles and I remember there was a beautiful woman in the dream with long black hair. She was like a painting, and every time she turned the corner, the rest of the world would also become a painting. Every time I wanted to go closer, she would round the next corner. I woke up and I said “I have to write that song”. I picked it out on my guitar and I started thinking about innocence and what age is it that innocence stops and you start to become more aware of the world. When you become wise, things aren’t as fun and good as they used to be. It takes the magic out of it.”
Innocent Sinner: “I have no idea what that song is about. I wrote those lyrics on the spot. This awesome chord progression came first and I loved it and it reminded me of Ennio Morricone. I was thinking about what this girl said to me about how I space out a lot – “you’re never really here even when you’re here”.
Brother: “This song is about a friend of mine. He was going through a divorce and the song is about mine and his stories mixed together. We were both going through rough times in our lives with women and we were leaning on each other.” Diamonds And Pearls: “My friend Mus Gillum wrote this song, and I thought it was beautiful. He’s one of my best friends and he let me record it.”
Where Are You Now: “I lost the girlfriend I really liked – I was being a bad person. She broke up with me just before I made this record and this song is about that.”
Chesapeake Lane: “This song is a story. It’s about an older man and he’s looking back on his life and he’s an alcoholic and remembering what life used to be life before he drank himself away.” The Ties That Bind: “It’s hard to explain this one. It’s just about life.”
Comfort Me: “It’s about wanting to be better and wanting to be a better person and trying not to give up on yourself. We all live and die by the decisions we make. I wanna LIVE and not die by the decisions I make.”
Cast The Same Old Shadow: “I wrote that song in my house and everyone had just left including a girl I liked, and she didn’t feel the same way about me. I wrote this song since I was feeling sorry for myself. The name of the song lends itself to lots of different analogies, but in short – we are all similar yet different. It doesn’t matter where you are standing in the sunlight we all cast the same old shadow.”
Lonesome Waltz: “I wrote it for a friend of mine that was lonely and sad and I was trying to cheer her up. I think it worked.”