Adam Hood: The Shape of Things

Written by October 9th, 2011 at 11:53 am

Adam Hood
The Shape of Things
(Carnival Recording Company)
Rating: ★★★½☆

As a songwriter, Alabama roots rocker Adam Hood has had material cut by Danny Gokey, Frankie Ballard, the Eli Young Band and others, and is supposedly on tap for a couple cuts with Lee Ann Womack soon. And as an artist Hood has opened for Miranda Lambert, Todd Snider, Leon Russell and others, and has a reputation as a road warrior who lives and dies by his live shows, where people like Lambert and Pete Anderson have been inspired to get involved in his career.

So on his debut album with Carnival, Hood collaborates with such Nashville writers as Chris Stapleton, Ashley Monroe, Americana legend Will Kimbrough and others on an album that isn’t all that memorable, but is a formidable effort for his first official Nashville recording. The Shape of Things opens with the Stones-y “Hell of a Fight,” a tale of hard times in Music City that leads into “Flame and Gasoline,” a story of mismatched love that has enjoyed some success on the charts in Texas. Even though he’s not a Texan, Hood has a good following there and sometimes sounds like another one of the many acts coming out of there.

“Grandpa’s Farm” brings to mind, at least melodically, something the late Chris Whitley might have done had he been less obtuse and more fun. If programmers are doing their jobs, this song will be all over country radio, right alongside songs by Montgomery Gentry or Luke Bryan that it is similar to and certainly can compete with. On this song and others, Hood reminds one of the younger Jeffrey Steele, someone who can really sing and play, and understands how to craft a good song and then perform it with the excitement and emotion that truly do it justice.

The Shape of Things is a decent enough album, and features some good players, like the Steeldrivers’ Mike Henderson. But talented as Hood is, one listens to this record thinking his better days are definitely ahead of him. A hot assemblage of Music Row players and a producer who really understand who Hood is can help him make a really killer album next time around. In the meantime, he has the goods to write for a living.

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