Keep Writing, Keep Playing and Keep Making Music To Be Proud Of: Adam Hood Discusses 'Welcome To The Big World'
Singer songwriter Adam Hood released his fourth album, Welcome To The Big World, on November 4th. The Kickstarter funded project contains eleven tracks all of which he co-wrote. Hood is an artist, a singer, a picker, and a stellar songwriter; a storyteller whose album encompasses intimate, personal yet relatable stories about life, love, family and the road. Adam graciously took the time to talk about the record, its authentic story songs and what's ahead.
Welcome To The Big World was funded via Kickstarter. What spurred you to take that route?
Well, my good friend Jason Eady had done two albums this way so his advice, and his success, were really big catalysts for me. I got to talk with him about it and he explained the process along with all of the pros and cons as well as the things he learned. After talking with him and learning about it, I thought it was a good way to go.
Was the process of making this album any different from your previous records?
The big one was that everything was on my hands, and I hadn’t made a record like that since 6th Street in 2004. It’s one of those things where you cannot leave out any details because you are at the helm both administratively and creatively. That said, I worked with Rachel Roy because I chose to work with Rachel Roy. The songs we have on the record were the songs I picked. The recording process, the way the album cover looks, every little detail-we got to make the call on all of it. At the end of the day, it was a lot of work and a good experience.
It was very satisfying and gratifying to make the record this way. I was really looking forward to it because I think it was the right thing for me to do and the right time for me to do it. I’m not what you would consider commercial; my music is really more creative. I’m not trying to mass market anything. I write songs that mean something to me. The case with this album, this is a personal record, not just because some of the songs are personal, rather it’s personal because I chose these songs. Half of the record has songs that I have had for a long time and we had never gotten to record and the other half were written specifically to people in my life.
As a songwriter, has your songwriting changed at all over the years?
No, not really. Honestly, there is just no strategy to it. I think the avenues I’m going down to try to find inspiration are a little bit different. I also think that that I’ve gotten better at sort of bridging the gap between using my imagination and writing about the personal experiences of my life. You don’t wanna tell everybody your dirty secrets in songs or be mean to say, my wife, but at the same time my relationship with my wife is really important. My music is how I apologize, my music is how I tell someone I love them and stuff like that, but you have to be creative with it. I want to be able to say things, but the world doesn’t have to know exactly what they mean, but that one person just might.
You have said that you penned the title track with your daughter in mind, but when you listen to it, it really strikes a chord. Did you realize that it would be so universally relatable?
It’s interesting you say that because I didn’t really realize it until I got the record back and started listening to it; then the light went on. There are certain things I was going through, changes in my life, and realized that this song is about me as much as it is about my daughter. She was the inspiration behind it, but I agree that it’s a universal song for anybody that is ready to make a change in their life.
Man, change is tough, especially when it comes to the whole growing up thing. There are physical changes, but there are a lot of ways to mature as human beings: spiritually, mentally and emotionally. I think our spiritual and emotional growth is a lifelong process, I don’t think most people ever get done doing that. Well, some might, but I’m 39 and I’m still maturing in those ways.
Did the fact that the song is so identifiable contribute to you choosing it as the title of the album?
Yes, definitely. If you look at and listen to my records there is really no specific idea or universal theme. I just don’t make records like that. Maybe I will try to one day, but I just have never done that. This is one of my most personally inspired songs and that's the reason why we chose it for the title.
The first single from the album “Trying To Write A Love Song” was a Top 5 hit on the Texas charts. Were you pleasantly surprised?
I was pleasantly surprised, yeah. When you release a song, you just never know how it will do. The context of this song is not really all that specific to what Texas country loves, if you know what I mean. It's not something you would typically hear on the radio. I figured it would either soar or sink. I'm glad it soared.
"Trying To Write A Love Song" is an example of one of those songs that I have had for a while. I wrote it with Pat McLaughlin and Logan Mize. Pat and I have an interesting process when we write that I really don’t do with anyone else. We write lines that are vague and we don’t really know what the song is about, but once we’re done we look at the song and go ‘wow, I know what that song is about now. I didn’t realize we were writing a song about that!’ It’s a really cool and interesting way to write. I say that to explain that with this song, we didn’t really have a specific storyline, we just thought it was a cool idea, it felt good and we wanted to bang it out of the park.
Initially, we demoed the song and it wasn’t great. Then Pat demoed it, and it was good, but at the same time it never came out like I knew it was supposed to. When we got in the studio for the record, I think we kicked it out of the park.
There are a few songs on the album about the road and being away from the ones you love. One in particular, "Postcards and Payphones" you co-wrote with Will Hoge. How did that song come about?
We shook hands for the first time in Steamboat this past year, but I have known Will's music for a while. Being from Alabama, Will is probably one of the only guys I saw come through the southeast and really be successful. We ran the same roads, but the places I was playing that nobody showed up to, Will was selling out. We sat down and wrote twice and the result was really successful. I heard from him that the first song we wrote he recorded for his album and I have this one on mine.
I know writing about the road is a kind of passé thing to talk about; it’s beat to death, but it’s still practical you know. As a matter of fact there’s a line in the song-“I-65 exit 53, dinosaur staring in the driver’s seat”- that mentions a specific spot and when we were in Bowling Green the other day I asked people if they knew where that was and they did. When you pick out nice little geographic markers like that it takes the whole idea of being on the road and making it personal to the people that live there, which is one way to keep it fresh.
The final track, "I Took A Train" is a tribute to one of your idols, John Prine. Is he someone who you would want to model your career after?
Oh yeah. I toured with Paul Thorn maybe ten years ago and we got to talking about John. John is one of those people that is famous for his songs worldwide, but can also just go to the grocery store. He is the epitome of musical success and the epitome of normalcy. Pat was the mandolin player in John’s band and when they came to Birmingham it was just really inspiring. You listen to him and you realize you’ve heard a lot of those songs and then you watch the crowd’s reaction to him--every song is just so beloved. He has a lot of class, and his songs are appropriate and charming; he deserves to be as adored as he is. I couldn’t think of a better way to be appreciated.
Honestly though, if you think about it, there is no way to have a career like that these days with things being so dramatized. Especially in commercial country, music is the last thing that’s really important. A lot of these people sell music, they sell their records, because they did something else. People go see this guy or that gal because they were on a television show. Nobody does it because they see an artist and say 'wow this person has written and recorded and performed incredible music.' That doesn’t happen anymore.
I never had another plan for my career, so I don’t know how to make it successful by being on a soap opera or a reality show or anything like that. I wanted to make my career successful by writing and recording and performing the best music I can; I don’t know any other way to do that. It’s a tough thing too because you watch that snowball get bigger and bigger every year. I hate to pick on commercial country music, but it’s the best example of it. Sometimes, you think ‘what am I gonna do’ and in talking with my friends, the answer is that all we can do is keep writing, keep playing sand keep making music that we are proud of.
The album was released earlier this month, you are finishing up the Southern Brothers Tour [with Jason Eady]…what’s next for you?
We are going to get through the holidays and then re-vamp. We are going to brainstorm, see what happens and keep the ball rolling. Touring is important. I spent a lot of my time touring Alabama and Texas, which is my comfort zone, but with the tour with Jason, we got to go to other places, like Charlotte and Atlanta, that I don’t usually get to all that much. In January we are heading to Nebraska and trying to make plans to get to the west coast.
We are still deciding if “Bar Band” will be the next single. With a record label, that’s what you do--put out a couple singles--but we are trying to be creative with the process. We have a video in the can for “Bar Band” which we did with Josh Newcomb, but we are going to take our time and see how it goes.
We did a Concert Window show the other day, which was sort of a cd release party. It was really great and I had a good time doing it. We are going to do another one on December 23rd, kind of like a Christmas show. I used to go to my hometown and play every Thanksgiving and Christmas, which was great because I got to see everyone, but then it became difficult for everyone to get out, so I think doing it this way will be a real fun time and I don’t have to leave my house either (laughing).
Finally, I always love to know, is there one recent release that you cannot get enough of?
Robyn Ludwig. Her new record is really great and has a real cool feel. She writes from an interesting perspective where you might not know what the song is about, but you know it’s good. You can take a line and the phrasing may relate to you, but it may be about something totally different. I’m almost jealous of it. She’s a new discovery and I’m a really huge fan. Her albums are the well I go back to a lot now a days.
To purchase Welcome To The Big World visit here
For more information visit his official website www.adamhood.com
Find him on Facebook www.facebook.com/AdamHoodBand
Follow Adam on Twitter and Instagram www.twitter.com/adamhoodmusic
You Tube Channel www.youtube.com/AdamHoodMusic