Extend-o-matic: Patterson Hood – Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance

I am going to try doing some extended longer form reviews every so often. Today, I want to highlight an artist outside of the pop framework, but you may like it. Patterson Hood’s album “Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance”

At first glance, this album is exceedingly simple. Very sparse, mostly just guitar and vocals, with soft accents all along the way. At its heart are the lyrics, both confessional and poetic. He is a storyteller of the sort where you don’t know you’re being told a story until its too late. So the album blooms from that. Where a standard approach would be to add more instrumentation, horns, strings, etc., Hood keeps it simple, sticking to the core of the song, highlighting the words. It really feels like a personal statement. The music itself is very basic, no complex chord changes or soaring choruses, he just lays down a rhythm, and rolls the words on top. it serves what he is doing just fine, so no complaints here. Highlights are Leaving Time and Better Than The Truth. If you love this type of troubadour songwriting, you can’t do too much better these days.